Archive for the Energy markets Category

Energy 2020: Resource availability

Posted in Climate policy, Energy markets with tags , , on June 30, 2008 by Dan

Sir Ben Gill, Hawkhills Consultancy. Where is the resource going to come from? 3 places:

  1. Virgin materials – there is an enormous untapped resource from forests. The most wooded area of the UK is the south-east, and these woods could provide woodchips for biomass plants. Energy crops still have high potential – for biomass energy and transport biofuels. Virgin materials also could be used much more extensively in construction and manufacturing.
  2. Non-virgin materials – many things thought of as waste are useful resources. Up to 10m tonnes of timber are being put into landfill each year – this could easily be turned into energy. Energy from manure and the organic elements of packaging and other types of waste can be extracted through combustion, digestion etc. Food from wasteful processing, homes and supermarkets has a lot of embedded energy.
  3. Other renewable sources – waves, tidal power, rivers etc. are abundant in the UK.

Energy 2020: Major infrastructure

Posted in Climate policy, Energy markets with tags , , on June 30, 2008 by Dan

Stephen Balint, RES. The UK has good natural resources and could even exceed the 2020 target, but revision of the UK’s infrastructure is a prerequisite.

The planning process must be driven by the renewable energy strategy. Many applications have been stuck for 6-7 year. Public buy-in is critical to making these plans work and is key to planning decisions.

The National Grid is not delivering for new renewable generation – there is a long queue for connection.

The price-cap regulation for energy is stifling investment. Ofgem needs to prioritise sustainability. These changes will affect consumers – but in the long term, the switch to renewable energy will reduce consumers’ exposure to volatile energy markets.

The 2020 targets are only a milestone and plans must look beyond this (other speakers echo this).

Energy 2020: Decentralised energy

Posted in Climate policy, Energy markets with tags , , , on June 30, 2008 by Dan

Benet Northcote, Greenpeace. The energy system we have today is incredibly wasteful, because energy is generated a long way from where it is used. That means that a huge amounts of heat is lost from power stations. Some electricity is lost in transmission and a large quantity is wasted in the home. People are not aware of how much energy they are wasting.

It’s the heat being wasted at the point of generation that we need to look at. The vision for 2020 – where microgenerators are on every home and CHP plants are used everywhere – is within our reach. We just need the will!

Energy 2020: Transport

Posted in Climate policy, Energy markets with tags , , , , on June 30, 2008 by Dan

Brian Robinson, IMechE. (Note energy use by transport is included in the 15% target.) The main contribution that transport can make is through demand reduction. The government’s focus should be on the road vehicle fleet – the fuel consumption hasn’t gone down since the mid 90’s (“a national disgrace”). There is also a role for demand reduction in freight.

Investment is required for a modal shift, especially in freight. We could be using boats to transport goods round the country to much better effect, for example. These networks don’t exist so investment is required.

Biofuels are also an important area of development. Growth will be driven in part by the long term price of oil. They have been unfairly demonised – some are sustainable and they have an important role to play. 10% biofuels in transport is attainable.

Consumers must demand efficient cars – manufacturers will move fast to block legislation but even faster to meet their customers’ wishes.

Energy 2020: Central and local government

Posted in Climate policy, Energy markets with tags , , , on June 30, 2008 by Dan

Andrew Cooper, REA. Local government is a big sector with a lot of potential for better energy management, but there are a range of barriers to it delivering energy efficiency. Councils are quite siloed and the departments often don’t feel they have control over the energy they use. Many large councils will be under the Carbon Reduction Commitment, but they have a poor understanding of what carbon is and their exposure to the mechanisms. The way investment decisions are made often only take account of the revenue impact of the project and exclude the environmental impacts. They’re limited by funding constraints (especially districts). Building control is not well enforced (perhaps the fault of building regulations rather than councils). There’s a lack of knowledge, skills and political will.

So with all that doom and gloom, what can they do?

A whole range of things, from free cavity insulation (Kirklees) to CHP (Southampton). There is a big overall potential – local authorities have a huge estate and broad channels to communicate with local communities, but they need direction from central government.

Energy 2020 – Bulk Energy Production

Posted in Energy markets with tags , , , , on June 30, 2008 by Dan

Gaynor Hartnell, REA. Bulk energy is unique in that is has been considered (at least the electricity side – less the heat side) in detail and we know the issues. The big issue is obvious: we have large, electricity only plants rather than heat and power plants integrated with the build environment.

Key issues for renewables are:

  • Getting quick access to the National Grid – renewable generators must be connected when they need to be connected
  • Getting planning permission – Merton (a required to include microgeneration with new developments) is a good development but much more is required
  • Getting the right incentives in place. The Renewables Obligation should be seen as a temporary thing – the end game is for the economy to deliver clean energy

Energy 2020: National Action Plan

Posted in Energy markets with tags , , , on June 30, 2008 by Dan

Ian Arbon, Engineered Solutions. Energy 2020 is a vision for how the UK can meet its commitment to supply 15% of all energy (heat, transport and electricity) from renewable sources by 2020. That’s a big jump – currently less that 2% of energy is supplied from renewable sources, a figure that is not growing at any great pace. We are well behind the rest of Europe in implementation.

BERR’s UK Renewable Energy Strategy Consultation is called a “good strategy but difficult to implement”. The worst outcome would be for the strategy to remain “just words”, and the Energy 2020 Manifesto will go a long way to meeting it.

The Manifesto follows the energy hierarchy – conservation is most important, followed by efficiency and then generation. If followed, Ian believes the UK can exceed its European renewables target.
The Action Plan is available from today on the RSA website (pdf) for review and comment.