July 10, 2016
Every day we are hearing more about air pollution concerns. Jennifer Wang writes on the rappler.com website about the healthy benefits of renewable energy. She argues that a future powered by healthy energy will require reducing dependence on dirty sources of energy, using energy more efficiently, and increasing investment in clean, renewable energy choices.
Renewable energy is healthy energy
Coal, natural gas, nuclear, wind, solar, and geothermal: these are some of the major pathways that we can pursue to meet energy needs across the globe. But in order to do so while protecting the ecosystem and the very species that energy access is meant to support – us Homo sapiens – policymakers must carefully consider the ecological and health benefits and risks of various energy options.
Decades of evidence and experience have culminated in the current consensus in the global health community: fossil fuels will create human fossils, and renewable…
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January 21, 2016
It is normal in January to reflect on the progress made in the previous year. The Rocky Mountain Institute provides what it believes are the 12 major developments on the Energy Efficiency Markets website.
Rocky Mountain Institute’s 12 Clean Energy Developments of 2015
Philips-LA-Steet-Lights-58It was a good year for clean energy development, says the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Laurie Guevara-Stone. Here are a dozen reasons why.
From a global climate accord to major domestic progress on the renewables front, 2015 was a great year for clean energy. As the 12 days of Christmas concludes today, January 5, here are—fittingly—12 things we saw as the biggest developments of the year, in no particular order.
- CLIMATE ACCORD REACHED
In December, 196 nations reached a landmark accord to address climate change—committing nearly every country to lower greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement achieved at COP21 in Paris aims to keep global temperatures from rising more…
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November 14, 2015
The World Energy Council rates countries in their energy and climate policies. The recent rating is available here on the WEC website. The WEC points out that only two countries have the triple A rating. This post from Reuters in The Guardian shows that the UK has lost that rating, because of the government scrapping onshore wind subsidies and cut solar subsidies.
Britain loses top energy rating after green policy U-turns
Britain has lost its top-notch energy policy rating from the UN-accredited World Energy Council after the government prematurely cut some renewable energy subsidies, creating uncertainty about how it will address support in future.
The World Energy Council has downgraded Britain to an AAB rating, from AAA, in its annual “energy trilemma index”, which ranks countries’ energy and climate policies based on the issues of energy security, equity and sustainability.
The downgrade reflects the damage the subsidy cuts have caused…
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October 2, 2015
Smart meters are being deployed more and more. The latest government figures show nearly two million smart meters have already been installed in the UK and they are changing the way people think about energy, says Sacha Deshmukh, CEO of the Smart Meter Central Delivery Body Smart Energy GB on the BusinessGreen website.
Smart meters are empowering people to make greener choices about their energy use
A quiet revolution is underway from Aberdeen to Penzance, as more and more gas and electricity smart meters are upgraded in homes and microbusinesses across Great Britain. Latest figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show that nearly two million smart meters have already been installed, providing even greater numbers of households with more control over their gas and electricity.
Between now and 2020, everyone in England, Scotland and Wales will have the opportunity to upgrade their existing analogue gas…
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July 19, 2015
Communities around shale gas fracking sites could suffer congestion and lower house prices, according to a draft report published by the government.
A shale gas fracking rig
The Draft Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts paper also warns of the impact from fracking on tranquillity and air quality for those close to shale gas extraction facilities.
The unfinished internal paper was released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) following a ruling by the Information Commissioner after campaigners sought its publication in unredacted form.
The government has publicly courted shale gas exploration but the activity has remained controversial. Lancashire County Council last month rejected two fracking applications by energy firm Cuadrilla, variously citing impacts on local roads, the landscape and noise levels.
The draft DEFRA report said of fracking: “House prices in close proximity to the drilling operations are likely to fall. However, rents may increase due to additional demand from site workers and the supply chain.”
It added that there would be noise impact on “rural communities living within close proximity of shale gas fracking operations”.
The consequences on water resources, air quality and landscape would be “low impact” according to the report, but in some cases would need to be managed.
Recommendations in the draft report included ensuring adequate provision of local infrastructure to serve fracking sites, along with routine monitoring of noise, congestion, air quality and other variables.
DEFRA said in a statement that the paper “is an early draft of an internal document; it is not analytically robust. Work on it has since been discontinued.
“The draft paper was intended as a review of existing literature. It includes early, often vague, assumptions which are not supported by appropriate evidence. These were never intended as considered DEFRA positions or as statements of fact.”
SOURCE – http://www.planningresource.co.uk/
June 28, 2015
In a ministerial statement, Rudd said the Renewables Obligation (RO), which requires electricity suppliers to source an increasing proportion of their energy from renewable sources, would close to new onshore schemes from 1 April next year – 12 months earlier than had been planned.
The move would be part of her party’s manifesto commitment to “end new subsidies for onshore wind”, the statement said.
Her announcement was made in parallel with a ministerial statement from communities secretary Greg Clark, which introduced new rules for local planning authorities on approving onshore wind applications, following a related manifesto pledge to give communities the “final say” on new turbine development.
Rudd said that while primary legislation would be required to change RO eligibly, the government already had the necessary powers to implement its manifesto commitments in relation to Contracts for Difference (CfD) subsidies, which offset the cost of investment in new infrastructure by effectively augmenting the income from power generated.
“The government is committed to meeting objectives on cutting carbon emissions and the UK’s 2020 renewable energy targets,” she said.
“Onshore wind has deployed successfully to date and is an important part of our energy mix. We now have enough onshore wind in the pipeline, to be subsidised by bill payers through the Renewable Obligation or Contracts for Difference, for onshore wind to play a significant part in meeting our renewable energy commitments.”
Rudd said there would be a grace period giving access to support under the RO to those projects that already had planning consent, a grid connection offer and acceptance, and evidence of land rights for the site on which their project would be built.
She added that it was her intention that final proposals, to be framed in an Energy Bill this parliamentary session, would web applied across Great Britain.
Wind industry trade association RenewableUK said the early end to RO eligibility would jeopardise thousands of jobs and millions of pounds worth of investment.
Chief executive Maria McCaffery said: “If government was really serious about ending subsidy it should be working with industry to help us bring costs down, not slamming the door on the lowest cost option.”
by Jim Dunton, http://www.planningresource.co.uk/
A planned overhaul of the continent’s electricity grids will now need to be sped up, says the leaked text, seen by the Guardian.
“Reaching the European Union 2030 energy and climate objectives means the share of renewables is likely to reach 50% of installed electricity capacity,” says the consultation paper, due to be published on 15 July. “This means that changes to the electricity system in favour of decarbonisation will have to come even faster.”
The EU has set itself a goal of cutting emissions 40% on 1990 levels by 2030, and an aspiration for a 27% share for renewables across Europe’s full energy mix, which includes sectors such as transport, agriculture and buildings that do not necessarily rely on electricity. Around a quarter of Europe’s electricity currently comes from renewable sources.
Oliver Joy, a spokesman for the European Wind Energy Association welcomed the draft text but noted the 27% goal for 2030 was non-binding, and some countries were looking likely to even miss an earlier goal, for 2020, that is binding.
“Even with a binding provision, we are seeing the Netherlands, UK and France potentially missing their 2020 target [to source a fifth of energy provision from renewables].”
Joy called for the commission to deliver a governance system for renewables that prevented slacker states from hiding behind the more fast-moving ones.
Downing Street would almost certainly resist more stringent oversight from Brussels on renewable energy. Other measures put up for discussion in the paper could be an anathema to the government’s eurosceptic backbenchers.
One question in the consultation document linking market distortions to divergent energy taxes and charges, leaves the door open for proposals to harmonise taxes. These would raise hackles with several countries, the Conservative MEP Ian Duncan warned.
“I can’t believe that common taxes are the right approach for opening up markets,” he told the Guardian. “If we get bogged down in the the notion of common taxes, it will drag the whole thing down – and it won’t be pretty I’m afraid.”
The paper also proposes intraday cross-border power trading between countries so that renewable energy can be instantly dispatched to meet demand, without the need for storage. This kind of trading only takes place on a day-ahead basis at present.
Arthur Neslen Brussels