Jim Ratcliffe (Ineos): The present situation is exacerbated by the fact that the UK has had no coherent energy policy for decades. As we see out the last days of coal-fired power stations which are simply too “dirty” for modern environmental standards, we are well into the twilight years of North Sea gas and are sitting on an ageing fleet of nuclear power stations. The Government has appeared to bet the bank in the last 20 years on windmills, despite the head of the renewables lobby recently admitting England just isn’t windy enough for them to work. If we take the country’s total energy requirements, minus transport fuel, then we see that gas and nuclear completely dominate our supply at around 60pc. Wind, which fluctuates widely from day to day, sits at only 3pc. If we assume that coal will be phased out in the next few years then the burden on gas and nuclear only increases. We are totally dependent today as a country on gas and nuclear. There are no viable alternatives on any sensible time horizon. But, and it’s a big but, we are fast running out of gas in the North Sea and our nuclear fleet is ageing. North Sea gas production peaked in the year 2000, and is now running at less than 50pc of its peak; in 10 years’ time it will be at less than 20pc. So we must choose between Russian imports and expensive LNG imports, or developing a shale industry of our own, in which Ineos has a vested interest. Rather than the current financing agreement in place with EDF and their Chinese counterparts, the Government should consider paying for it up front and put it on the UK’s balance sheet, because once the capital has been spent the variable costs of producing electricity are very low and it can provide highly competitive power to manufacturing for many years to come. For the foreseeable future, the UK is dependent on gas and nuclear for its primary energy needs to serve the general public and industry/commerce. Our energy policy for the next 10 years should give priority to exploiting shale gas safely and to building “tried and tested” new nuclear. It really is not so complicated.
Telegraph 14th Oct 2016 read more »
UK heating must be virtually zero-carbon by 2050, says the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). Options to reach this goal include district heating schemes, low-carbon hydrogen in the gas grid and electric heat pumps, the CCC says, in a new report on decarbonising heat. Each option poses problems and will take time to develop. Yet deployment cannot wait until the 2030s, the committee says. It must start now in order lay the groundwork for roll-out later on. The UK also needs a new approach to improving energy efficiency, the CCC says, which could include direct regulation of home performance.
Carbon Brief 13th Oct 2016 read more »
The government has admitted it needs to do more to ensure the UK meets its emissions targets from the early 2020s onwards. Responding to the Committee on Climate Change’s annual progress report published in June, it recognised that as things stand Britain is on course to breach the fourth carbon budget running between 2023 and 2027 by 10 per cent. “We know we need to do more to meet our targets from the early 2020s,” it said. “We have always been clear that options would be developed in this parliament. This work is underway and will be set out in the emissions reduction plan.”
Utility Week 13th Oct 2016 read more »
The government is “taking its time” to prepare a critical new emissions reductions plan, which it accepts is vital to getting the UK back on track to meeting its carbon targets beyond 2022. In a new report released today, Climate Change Minister Nick Hurd said the plan – now widely expected to be released early next year – will pursue emissions reductions “fairly and cost effectively”, covering energy, industry, transport and buildings.
Business Green 13th Oct 2016 read more »
As the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) releases three new reports on the UK meeting its climate commitments, edie rounds up the key green policy calls made by the Committee surrounding low-carbon heat, Brexit and the Paris Agreement.
Edie 13th Oct 2016 read more »
The government’s climate advisors, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), today provided a green data blitz, releasing a series of reports on three key policy areas pertinent to the UK’s climate goals: Brexit, the Paris Agreement and heat policy. BusinessGreen highlights the key takeaways from the reports: Heat is the major climate policy gap; The government needs to take action on heat now to reduce emissions; The role of hydrogen as low carbon heat option needs to be established; The upcoming Emissions Reduction Plan must include all of the above; Despite the Paris Agreement, Britain should wait to enshrine new carbon targets into law; Brexit won’t affect climate targets – but there are areas of concern for the green economy; The CCC is confident the new government is engaged with climate risks and opportunities.
Business Green 13th Oct 2016 read more »