Ten million homes in the UK should have their roofs covered with solar panels in the next six years, if the country is to fulfil its renewable energy potential, energy experts said on Wednesday.
That number – of more than a third of households generating energy from the sun – would allow the UK to produce about 6% of its annual electricity needs from solar power, with as much as 40% coming from the panels on sunny days in summer, by 2020. These figures are comparable to those of Germany, which has made a major push on solar power in the last decade.
Installing more solar panels brings the costs of the technology down dramatically, because of economies of scale, as the example of Germany and other countries shows. By 2030, the cost of solar should be comparable to that of even the dirtiest forms of coal, and of gas, said Ajay Gambhir, of Imperial College London.
Nearly half a million homes in the UK have solar panels installed today, recent figures show.
The price for day-ahead baseload surged higher Wednesday morning amid forecasts that wind power generation is set to more than halve from current levels above 4 GW to less than 2 GW, market sources said.
On the OTC market, day-ahead baseload was last heard 8% higher on the day at GBP49.40/MWh by Platts 11.00 GMT close, while peakload power rose to GBP55.70/MWh from GBP52.50/MWh at Tuesday’s close.
Strong gains were also seen on the N2EX day-ahead baseload power auction which outturned at GBP54.02/Mwh, from Tuesday’s GBP45.87/MWh result.
Power prices rose despite softer NBP gas prices as Thursday’s generation mix was expected to include a stronger share of more expensive gas-fired power when wind output falls.
True greens should embrace fracking for shale gas in order to combat climate change, the energy minister has said.
Greg Barker said ideological convictions rather than sound science motivated anti-fracking campaigners, and urged an expansion of fracking in the UK.
“If you are really against climate change, then to be anti-fracking is incredibly dangerous,” he said. This was because coal-fired power generation could be replaced with gas, which burns with lower carbon dioxide emissions. “The knee-jerk reactions to fracking is [based on] ideology, it’s not science-based.”
Barker, one of the architects of David Cameron’s pledge to lead the “greenest government ever”, said environmentalists needed to cheer up.
He warned of a tendency for greens to “slit their wrists at every opportunity”, to see the world as “going to hell in a handbasket” and to imagine that the green agenda had been “thrown out the window” when it had not been.
At a meeting of the all-party parliamentary environment group, Barker also defended the green deal, the government scheme by which households can access loans to make energy efficiency improvements to their homes.
Tuesday is the first anniversary of the policy’s launch. There were 1,612 households with green deal plans in progress at the end of December, the government reported last week.
Crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo work on a relatively simple premise; someone with the idea for a product or service turns to the masses on the internet to gain the means, with each ‘backer’ promised something in return for their investment.
The idea has proven massively popular for content creators, independent film makers and the video game industry – but could crowdfunding be used to tackle something as big as the UK’s renewable, commercial energy goals?
Shale frackers operating in Britain should be paying £6bn a year in taxes by the middle of the 2020s to compensate for the damage wreaked on the environment, according to a study from Cambridge University.
The government has made clear drillers such as Cuadrilla Resources and IGas should provide sweeteners to local communities affected by their activities but it would also be right for shale gas producers to pay for contributing to global warming, argues Chris Hope, a parliamentary adviser and reader in policy modelling at the Judge Business School in Cambridge.
“Shale gas will contribute to climate change in two ways, from carbon dioxide emissions when the gas is burned, and from the fugitive emissions of underground methane that leak into the atmosphere when the gas is extracted,” he says.
“Under the Institute of Directors’ central production estimate and with a central methane leakage rate of 2%, the tax revenues for the UK will be about £6bn per year in current prices by the time shale really gets going in the latter half of the 2020s.”
Hope says that even though there is uncertainty about various aspects of climate change, the social cost of carbon produced when oil and gas is burned has been well assessed and is calculated at $100 a tonne of carbon dioxide.
Davos tends to turn the hardest of heads. During the annual meetings, where businesses pay big bucks to rub shoulders with political leaders and thinkers, a contagious aura of smugness fills this Alpine valley like a fog, killing much sense of reality.
Politicians need a quick corridor story to sell their country’s virtues, and David Cameron has landed on a peculiarly ill-informed one. Most narratives are falsifiable only with the passage of time, but Cameron’s story is demonstrably a fairytale right now.
The Cameron song is that Britain is going to be “re-shoring” businesses – the opposite of offshoring – in part because of cheap gas as fracking takes off: prices will fall as they have in the US, where they are just a third of Europe’s prices. British consumers, whose bills will be halved, will doff their caps to Tory ministers who made possible this revolution of cheap energy. Grateful billionaires will come gambolling back to bring new business to Bradford and Bolton.
This is not a vision but a fantasy. Britain’s geology has not yet been proved as suitable for fracking. Poland underwent a frenzy of over-excited hype about its shale gas deposits, only to be cruelly disappointed by the detailed geology. The same may happen here.
Assume, however, that our shale deposits are frackable. The second problem is that we have eight times as many people per square mile as the US, and those pin-striped protesters in Balcombe, Sussex, are rather more likely to notice the lorry traffic needed to supply a big shale gas pad than the good folk of Oklahoma.
Those irate British nimbys, along with the green groups who want to leave fossil fuels in the ground, are quite capable of making life miserable for the shale prospectors. They have to get planning permission, and then face tricks such as buying up tiny strips of land and claiming trespass.
In the US you drive by signs saying “Top dollar paid for gas rights”. Companies can buy from residents who own the mineral rights under their own land. In the UK, mineral rights were nationalised during the first world war so people have little incentive to back exploration.
UK GOVERNMENT figures show confident strides taken by the Scottish renewable energy sector mean green power could provide more of the country’s electricity than any other source within the next few years.
This year is already looking promising. Department of Energy and Climate Change statistics show renewable energy is on track to become Scotland’s main source of power, and is already generating the equivalent of 40 per cent of our electricity needs. That’s more than coal, more than gas – and is the strongest signal yet that we’re well on our way to meeting the ambitious target of generating 100 per cent by 2020.
Not only are we producing low-carbon energy for households and businesses and helping meet European targets of reducing emissions and tackling climate change, but renewable energy is delivering opportunities for people who want to work in the sector.
In what is the most comprehensive study to date, Scottish Renewables has published findings which suggest there are now 11,695 people working in renewable energy in Scotland. This is a 5 per cent growth on the previous year’s figures, and the surest sign yet that we are creating opportunities in the labour market. Major reforms in the electricity markets – leading to uncertainty in the industry – make this rise even more laudable. The 5 per cent growth in renewables jobs is higher than the growth in Scotland’s overall employment rate.
The most mature of the renewable energy sectors, onshore wind, was the greatest source of employment (39 per cent), with offshore wind (21 per cent), bioenergy (9 per cent) and marine (9 per cent) all contributing.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey says the UK’s drive against new binding EU renewable energy targets, will make it cheaper to tackle climate change.
Proposals for curbing global warming up to 2030, published by the European Commission yesterday, included plans for an EU-wide binding target to meet 27 per cent of energy consumption from renewables by 2030.
But green groups have criticised lobbying from a number of countries including the UK that prompted the commission to back away from setting binding renewables targets for individual countries, which had been included in a similar EU package of climate measures for 2020.
The UK had argued for a 40 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030, with a potential increase to 50 per cent if a global deal on tackling climate change could be agreed in Paris at the end of 2015, and Davey was unapologetic about the government’s opposition to country-specific renewables targets.
“Today’s proposals are a step in the right direction towards an ambitious emissions reduction target for Europe,” he said yesterday. “They provide the flexibility to tackle climate change in the most cost-effective way, so that British consumers aren’t paying over the odds to go green.
“A 40 per cent greenhouse gas target for Europe is a good start which the UK fought hard for, and will lead to massive investment in low-carbon energy, including many more renewables. Yet Britain has been clear that Europe must be ready to adopt a 50 per cent target if the rest of the world is prepared to sign an ambitious global climate deal in 2015.”
via Davey defends ‘technology neutral’ emissions stance – E & T Magazine.
Energy supplier SSE today said it lost 250,000 customers in the nine months to December, but it remained on course to grow its profits and dividends.
The Perth-based group had 9.47 million retail customers across the UK and Ireland at the end of last month, down from 9.22 million a year earlier.
Households that stayed with the firm used less power, it added, with average electricity consumption down about 4.3 per cent. Gas consumption was estimated to have fallen by 9.5 per cent.
SSE also said there was “greater uncertainty” about its capital and investment programme for the five years from 2015 because of concerns over UK government policy.
via SSE upbeat despite fall in customer numbers – The Scotsman.
Cameron is also expected to announce that revue generated from allowing fracking sites could even potentially be paid, in cash, directly to homeowners needy to the area.
Fracking, or the process of shale gas extraction, is a highly-controversial topic on the commercial energy agenda at present. Widespread in remote regions of the Middle East, fracking has become more frequent in regions of the US with reported adverse effects as severe as increases in earthquakes and irreversible damage to the water table in the region.
With that in mind, environmentalists have seen the move to pass revenue on to councils and members of the public likely to be effected by new fracking sites as little more than a bribe.
via Cameron say’s lets go for Shale….