Whilst the rest of the UK are setting up their future energy policies in Scotland there are ambitions to have the country meeting a renewables target of 100 per cent. MSP’s have since warned that if immediate action isn’t adhered to such as the infrastructure, financing and the planning regime then the ambitious project could fail.
The committee which deals with the economics, energy and tourism within Holyrood said that the country has a long road ahead in order to achieve the target of having a wholly renewable Scottish electric system. They also stated that they felt it was achievable but obstacles were to be overcome. One challenge being the costs involved when exporting stored energy from renewable energy sources to the national grid.
The reason for the significant costs is due the largest number of energy users being in the South of England and the charging process penalises those areas with the greatest renewables potential. The chairman of the committee Murdo Fraser, a Tory MSP, stated that any recommendations that are made from the committee are paramount in how the renewables target progresses and the overall success of the plan.
The Scottish recommendations were prepared before the UK government released the details of their energy bill last week with their own 2020 targets. Their bills key proposal being to add £7.6 billion onto consumers bills for an accelerated renewables investment. UK ministers believe that this will start a domino effect with industries such as banking, utilities and engineering companies adding a further £110 billion to the pot.
Scotland leader Alex Salmond, whose SNP party are still pushing for Scottish independence, will be pleased that the UK government cannot agree on a firm target for reducing Co2 emissions. All the while the Scottish parliament have committed to reducing emissions by 42 per cent by 2020.
Renewables investors are confident due to Mr Salmond’s enthusiasm and championing of renewable energy sources, creating a more positive business environment this side of the border. This is in stark contrast to the divisions and delays at UK level over the increasing amount of subsidies.
At their annual conference in Brighton this week the UK Lib Dems voted through a motion in agreement to ‘decarbonise’ the UK energy sector by 2030 – putting them on a collision course with their coalition counterparts in the Conservative party (particularly Chancellor George Osbourne) who is keen to exploit UK gas reserves and is thought to be reluctant to agree to the 2030 green measures.
The Lib Dems agreed to pursue an emissions target of 50-100 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour (KWh) for any fossil fuel plant built after 2030, this was not included in the draft Energy Bill from earlier this year – however, there is now pressure for it to be incorporated into the bill. The Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey also outlined a “community energy” strategy, a part of which includes a proposal for a discount in council tax for highly energy efficient households.
As to which of these policies is eventually moulded into solid legally-binding legislation – who knows. There are some interesting debates ahead in the halls of Westminster.
More on this story:
The Carbon Brief
UK Green targets in the balance….
Public buildings and green offices are expected to be the main beneficiaries as Government announces the allocation of £100m fund to the UK’s first Green Investment Bank. Thoughts are still positive that the bank will be opened for business by the end of the year this is even more likely now that UK Green Investments (UKGI) has finally assigned the investment budget.
However this budget is specifically for non domestic projects and the two specified fund managers Equitix and Sustainable Development Capital (SDC) have been charged with finding opportunities for investment of the cash out with the domestic energy efficiency sector.
The UK’s Business Secretary Vince Cable has declared the announcement as a show of “good progress” from the Government. He continued” Projects the fund managers invest in will help to save energy and meet the government’s carbon reduction targets”
Regardless of all the positives at the moment the Green Investment Bank cannot officially be launched without the state aid approval from the EU. However the majority of people are confident this will have happened by the end of the year.
Confidence of the state aid being approved is high as the GIB has been somewhat modelled on the existing infrastructure already in place for banks throughout other European nations like Germany.
In an effort to increase the pace of investment in the Green Economy the Department for Business, Innovations and Skills have already allocated £80m of the £100m fund towards tackling waste projects and are now appointing more fund managers to tackle the non domestic energy efficiency sector.
With all these plans in place just waiting for an EU go ahead it must surely be casting some uncertainty over the energy efficiency sector and investment.
The UK’s green energy juggernaut may be grinding to a halt, with reports that the big six are now involved in a gas race and are not focusing so much on the construction of green energy facilities. Fears are growing that this change in policy could put the current climate change targets beyond the UK’s capabilities.
This new direction also means that British households will continue paying a higher rate for their bills. For an indication as to how much the UK industry has slowed, only half of the amount of wind turbines built last year have been built this year. Throughout last year there was 1,192MW of wind power added to the grid yet this year it has only reached around 540MW. This is a stark contrast to the 30GW of new gas fired power stations that are going through the planning stages just now. The problem is people know the gas powered plants cost in the tens of billions of £’s most of which will be coming from the big six – now as you can imagine that certainly doesn’t leave a lot for investment in green technology.
At the moment gas is still cheaper than renewable energy and the fact that we rely so heavily upon gas is proving expensive – hence the rise in energy bills.
However is there any other choice? Should Britain go for the quick win with gas or continue to spend on green energy?
Drop us a comment and let us know what you think
Source: Guardian Energy
Read the full article.
In the future, historians will look back to 2011 and see a very different year to the one that we see now. This will be because events that haven’t taken place yet will put 2011′s concerns into context. Will hydrogen replace oil? Will all the planet’s electricity one day be from renewable sources?
For now, all us ordinary mortals can do is listen to the politicians and read the newspapers. It looks right now like Germany could be the first of the nuclear nations to go non-nuclear, meanwhile Alex Salmond’s new government in Scotland look set to make renewables big business and increase green energy production by a very large percentage over the remainder of this decade.
Where do you think the future lies, not just for the UK but Europe as whole? Are we headed for a situation where there’s a mix of nuclear and renewable, or will renewables take over eventually? And what about fossil fuels? How much longer will they be part of the mainstream?
The only thing that will tell is time. until then, let’s share our best guesses as to what the future holds.
Have you ever wondered how they make sure the UK has enough power supplied to it over the course of a day? Managing the grid means taking decisions to keep supply levels up, but not generating too much electricity – a fine balancing act. Modern technology means that extra electricity can be created at the push of a button, (and release of lots of water from a dam).
The electricity supply is obviously vital to the country, so it’s interesting to see this device that gauges the current state of the grid. Although as it states on the site – the ‘danger zones’ at either side are in reality much further away = they’ve just been squeezed in so that you can see that they’re there.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents say that up to 50 people are killed in UK every year due to carbon monoxide poisoning, with many more needing medical treatment after exposure to the gas.
The thing that makes carbon monoxide so dangerous is the fact that it is so hard to detect. It is an odourless and colourless gas meaning you can’t see, smell or taste it. The first indications of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, drowsiness or nausea. These are symptoms of other common illnesses making it even harder to pin point. People showing these symptoms wouldn’t immediately think about carbon monoxide poisoning.
Nowadays, there are a few simple precautions that can be taken to protect yourself from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide alarms can be fitted that look and operate in a similar fashion to a normal smoke alarm. Carbon monoxide detector stickers can also be bought. These change colour when carbon monoxide is detected.
In the home, faulty central heating boilers, gas fires and blocked chimneys or flues can cause high levels of carbon monoxide. Getting your systems checked by a professional that deals in central heating installation and is Gas Safe Registered will make sure any faults are picked up. You should ideally get them checked annually to give yourself peace of mind.
Since the election, Energy watcher has been keeping a close eye on news regarding the UK’s only Green MP, Caroline Lucas.
She seems to be doing pretty well so far, at any rate. The green view back in the 80s was a minority view but slowly and surely it has become orthodoxy, more or less. For more on what she has to say on the subject of green issues, see her pages at The Guardian.
Lucas rightly sees the value in business pursuing renewables, but in the home the cheapest gas and electric strategy is also the greenest – it’s by getting smart that we optimise our living spaces and habits for maximum environmental benefit. Of course, when micro renewables become more common we might even be able to generate energy domestically and feed it back into the grid. How cool will that be?
The next few years are going to see some big changes in the way we produce energy, as less and less will be produced by carbon emitting means. At the moment it’s unclear as to what extent nuclear power will form part of the UK’s energy mix – there are signs that nuclear power stations will be built, although the main thing to remember is that the first priority should be to lower carbon emissions.
UK renewable energy companies have shown commitment to the renewables sector and with continued commitment from government it’s likely that renewables will keep growing – the technology will advance over tome and get cheaper. One day, perhaps even in this century, we’ll wave bye bye to the atom.