Late on Friday afternoon, the Department of Energy and Climate Change released a document detailing how the government has done to keep consumers bills down. The article, aside from appearing as self-congratulatory piece to promote the department as a pro-active force for good, listed five ways in which this has been achieved. It confirmed there was now increased competition in the supplier market, that switching supplier was now easier, that the energy sector was now fairer than it had been and a raft of policies had been enact to control the cost of public subsidies. It also highlighted future changes, most notably the rollout of smart meters. But has the government even been that successful in driving bills down? As ever with things steeped in political procedure, it’s not quite as crystal clear an there are just as many things the government has done to drive bills up. 1 – Hand energy intensive industries an exemption from renewables subsidies; 2 – Chucked money at diesel generators to fulfil needed capacity under the Capacity Market; 3 – Reducing the Merit Order Effect by slashing renewables support; 4 – Handing exorbitant generation contracts to nuclear reactors; 5 – Undermining the potential for self-consumption.
Solar Portal 25th Jan 2016 read more »
Wind energy will be chaper than gas by 2020. Onshore wind generation will be cheaper than gas in Northern Ireland by the end of the decade. That’s according to the Northern Ireland Renewable Industry Group (NIRIG), which claims that will be possible “with the appropriate policy and regulatory conditions”. Its new report reveals wind energy represented a fifth of the country’s total electricity generation in 2015, witnessing a new peak record of 583MW in June. The renewable source provided nearly half (48%) of its power production on the first of the month, enough electricity for nearly 379,000 homes.
Energy Live News 27th Jan 2016 read more »
Solar power costs are tumbling so fast the technology is likely to fast outstrip mainstream energy forecasts. That is the conclusion of Oxford University researchers, based on a new forecasting model published in Research Policy. Since the 1980s, panels to generate electricity from sunshine have got 10% cheaper each year. That is likely to continue, the study said, putting solar on course to meet 20% of global energy needs by 2027. By contrast, even in its “high renewable” scenario, the International Energy Agency assumes solar panels will generate just 16% of electricity in 2050. Its widely cited future energy scenarios in previous years failed to predict solar’s rapid growth. Mathematics professor Doyne Farmer, who co-wrote the paper, said the research could help to shape clean energy policy. “Sceptics have claimed that solar PV cannot be ramped up quickly enough to play a significant role in combatting global warming,” he said. “In a context where limited resources for technology investment constrain policy makers to focus on a few technologies… the ability to have improved forecasts and know how accurate they are should prove particularly useful.”
Guardian 26th Jan 2016 read more »