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Tag Archives: renewables

Energy in the US: the rise of renewables

By Dave Elliott

Energy use and impacts are changing in the USA, in part due to progressive policies from Obama, but also because of structural changes in the energy economy. Carbon dioxide emissions from US energy sector have fallen 12% since 2005, mainly since there has been a decline in the use of coal, although its fall back has mostly due to an increase in the use of natural gas to generate electricity. However, renewables are also playing growing roles, supplying around 16% of US power, eclipsing nuclear (their output overtook that from nuclear in 2010) and they are expanding fast, hitting 17% in the first part of 2016. But all that could change when Trump takes power. (more…)

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Labour’s 65% renewables by 2030 plan

By Dave Elliott

Labour’s new Environment and Energy policy aims to get 65% of UK electricity from renewables by 2030 and pioneer a ‘democratic, community-led system of energy supply’. That is well ahead of what might happen under current plans, and includes 47GW of offshore wind, 21GW of onshore wind (up from around 5GW and 10GW at present, respectively) and 25GW of PV solar (up from 12GW now), but is presented as being possible since it would involve new forms of decentralised project development, alongside more conventional ‘top down’ corporate projects, suitably accelerated.

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All Energy: an ecumenical approach

By Dave Elliott

The All Energy Conference in Scotland, despite its title, usually focuses on renewables but, some feel provocatively, it has of late also included sessions on nuclear. A petition was raised against this, with over 1,700 signatories, but an ecumenical approach does have its attractions – we get to hear from all the contenders and can form an impression of the overall state of play. Better surely than a partisan ‘no platform’ stance?

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UK has the best energy market system

By Dave Elliott

The UK government’s response to an EU consultation on energy market design was pretty forthright: we had it right. The UK competitive market CfD system, buttressed by the new Capacity Market, was the best approach and would lead to a low cost, low carbon future. With support for some renewables being cut and the prospects for the £24bn Hinkley nuclear project looking very uncertain, doubts persist as to whether this approach would in fact deliver sufficient low carbon energy to meet the UK carbon reduction targets. But, in its EU response, the government remained very upbeat. (more…)

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What a waste: an end of year lament

By Dave Elliott

In a post-Xmas pre-new year Scrooge-type austerity mood, I worry about the money we are wasting on energy. If you look at Sankey diagrams of energy flows from primary resources to final end use, you will see that for many countries around half the raw energy input is wasted in the conversion process, most of it being rejected into the atmosphere as heat, for example from steam-based fossil and nuclear generation systems.

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UK energy market not reset: competition rules

By Dave Elliott

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd was batting on a sticky wicket when she came to launch her ‘energy market reset’ plan. A leaked memo had made clear that, far from the UK being on track to meet its EU defined mandatory 15% by 2020 renewable energy target, as she had claimed, it would fall short by around 50 TWh per year by 2020, – nearly 25% under the target. Rudd didn’t spell it out in the ‘Reset’ speech, but her options are limited: more biofuels, buying in green power and credits from abroad: ‘every-thing but wind and solar’, as the Ecologist magazine put it: www.theecologist.org/News/news_aalysis/2986190/leaked_letter_rudd_admits_25_green_energy_undershoot_misled_parliament.html

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Why not nuclear and renewables?

By Dave Elliott

Nuclear plants do not generate carbon dioxide, so why can’t we have nuclear AND renewables, supporting each other, as a response to climate change? In evidence to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee in July Amber Rudd MP, DECC Secretary of State, suggested that despite its high cost nuclear baseload ‘enables us to support more renewables’ and was needed since, ‘as we all know, until we get storage right, renewables are unreliable’. Can nuclear really support renewables, and is it really low carbon?

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Plenty of renewables – and they can be balanced

By Dave Elliott

Is there enough renewable energy to meet global needs and can the use of variable sources be effectively balanced?  Recent reports say yes on both counts. In terms of the total resource, a GIS-based study of land/sea use/availability has put the total 2070 global potential for renewable electricity at up to 3,810 EJ, led by solar PV, with about a third of the PV being on buildings. The total estimated resource was roughly in line with most other global renewable studies, like that from the IPCC, and well above likely total global electricity demand, put at around 400 EJ: www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378015000072 (more…)

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Renewables: ‘an expensive disaster’

By Dave Elliott

We are spending too much on renewables and undermining competitiveness, so says a report Central Planning with Market Features: how renewable subsidies destroyed the UK electricity market, published by the Centre for Policy Studies. In it Rupert Darwall  says that recent energy policy represents the biggest expansion of state power since the nationalisations of the 1940s and 1950s, and is on course to be the most expensive domestic policy disaster in modern British history.

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The first CfD round: wind leads

By Dave Elliott

The first full competitive auctions for renewables held under the Contracts for a Difference (CfD) regime led to £315m in contracts being awarded for over 2GW of new capacity in all, with wind projects dominating and some lower than expected strike prices emerging. (more…)

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