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Give us the money to build a 100percentrenewableuk model!

100percentrenewableuk is now fundraising to build funds to commission a study on how 100percent renewable energy would work in the UK. Please donate to this cause and please spread the word to others to support this. To donate go to the GoFundMe website here

Back 100 per cent renewable energy for the UK!

You can directly help the campaign to ensure that the UK energy system is fully sustainable by backing us to commission and promote a study of implementation of a 100 per cent renewable energy scenario in the UK. This would be achieved within a net zero carbon scenario by 2050. We shall use this study to campaign for the adoption of a 100 per cent renewable energy target and argue that this is a practical and desirable course to take to avoid the problems associated with nuclear power and fossil fuels.

Because of the dominance of the fossil fuel and nuclear energy industries there is very little research into what a 100 per cent renewable energy system would look like and how it can be brought into being. But a small company which does not give profits to shareholders has been formed to campaign for a 100percent renewable UK. That’s us!

We want to commission academics from LUT University in Finland (who have a good track record of doing this type of modelling) to build a 100 per cent renewable energy model of the UK and describe this model in documents and videos. We shall then promote the model through use of articles and videos on the websites, meetings, lobbying politicians and officials, liaising with other energy NGOs in the process and organising petitions where appropriate. All of this will cost over £22,000 to achieve.

Currently the nuclear  industry and the fossil fuel industry is arguing that this cannot be done without them; but this is a distraction that will only slow the achievement of the UK’s net zero carbon target, which should be achieved by 2050. Official funding bodies tend  to be pro-nuclear and pro-fossil fuel and are unsupportive of our aims. Hence there is a pressing need to set up a project to model 100 per cent renewable energy for the UK

Those urging you to support this appeal include:

  • Jonathon Porritt, Founder, Director, Forum for the Future; Professor Tom Burke, Founding Director of E3G; Alison Downes, Executive Director, Stop Sizewell C Campaign; Professor Nick Eyre, Professor of Energy and Climate Policy, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford; Susan Roaf, Emeritus professor of Architectural Engineering, Heriot Watt University; Professor Ben Sovacool, University of Sussex; Dr Sarah Darby, Associate Professor, Energy Programme, Environmental Change Institute;  Professor Peter Strachan, The Robert Gordon University Aberdeen Business School; Dr David Toke, Director, 100percentrenewableuk, also Reader in Energy Politics, University of Aberdeen; Dr Paul Dorfman, Founder and Chair Nuclear Consulting Group, Honorary Senior Research Associate UCL Energy Institute; Jane Clarke, NEU Haringey Branch; Professor Bryan Wynne, Professor of Science Studies and Research Director of the Centre for the Study of Environmental Change; Professor Andrew Stirling, Professor of Science and Technology Policy, University of Sussex; Ellen Renton, Helensburgh CND; Professor David Elliott, Technology Policy Group,The Open University; Professor Stephen Thomas, Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU), University of Greenwich; Dr Ian Fairlie, Vice President CND; Professor Richard Cowell, School of Geography & Planning, Cardiff University, Professor Andrew Blowers, Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG), Dr Phil Johnstone Research Fellow Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), Dr Dan van der Horst, University of Edinburgh

 

As our own research has indicated, nuclear power gets in the way of a decentralised energy system and it is very expensive. The fossil fuel industry claims we should invest in ‘carbon capture and storage’, but not only is this very expensive, but it will itself involve significant greenhouse gas emissions. By contrast an energy system based on solar and wind power and perhaps other renewables such as tidal, geothermal small hydro and wave is much cheaper and fits in much better with the modern digitalised where energy efficiency is integrated with energy supply.

LUT will do the modelling on the basis of 100%REUK scenario(s) that do not include biomass as supply resources other than biogas from waste sources. There shall be an alternative nuclear energy and fossil CCS scenario based on a scenario drawn from the UK Government document ‘Powering our net zero future’ (BEIS 2020). The 100%REUK scenario(s) should be net zero carbon by definition.

The LUT team has published more than 50 scientific articles on 100%
renewable energy system transition studies and receives many scientific citations, placing the LUT team among the three leading teams in the world on the topic. Several articles and reports are published on the case of Europe, or specific European countries. The LUT model has been assessed as one of the leading energy system models for comprehensive energy transition studies in independent review. The Clients of the LUT team span a range from NGOs (e.g. Greenpeace), Think Tanks (e.g. Agora Energiewende, Energy Watch Group), associations (e.g. SolarPower Europe), national energy agencies (e.g. dena – German Energy Agency), industry players (e.g. Wärtsilä), and of course public funding (e.g.H2020, Business Finland, Academy of Finland).”

Short bio for LUT Team Leader:

Christian Breyer, PhD (Tech), Professor for Solar Economy

Christian Breyer is Professor for Solar Economy at LUT University, Finland. His major expertise is the integrated research of technological and economic characteristics of renewable energy systems specialising in energy system modeling for 100% renewable energy, on a local but also global scale. His team published the most studies on 100% renewable energy systems for countries or major regions globally. Energy system transition studies are carried out in full hourly and high geo-spatial resolution. Publications cover integrated sector analyses with power, heat, transport, desalination, industry and negative CO2 emission options. Power-to-X investigations is a core research field for his team. He published more than 300 scientific papers, thereof more than 100 in scientific journals. He worked previously for Reiner Lemoine Institut, Berlin, and Q-Cells (now: Hanwha Q Cells). He is member of ETIP PV, IEA-PVPS, scientific committee of the EU PVSEC and IRES, scientific advisory board of CO2 Value Europe, academic council of Global Alliance Powerfuels, chairman for renewable energy at the Energy Watch Group, reviewer for the IPCC and a co-founder of the Desertec Foundation. His academic background is general business, physics and energy systems engineering and a PhD in electrical engineering. He communicates in Twitter @ChristianOnRE.

 

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How decentralised energy will massively reduce grid costs

There’s lots of information being pumped out by the anti-renewables lobby about how renewable energy causes great increases in the costs of upgrading electricity networks, but in fact there’s a lot of ways in which decentralised energy will actually REDUCE network costs. A recent study from California emphasizes how the cheapest path to clean energy is a mixture of large renewable energy projects and small decentralised renewables (mainly solar pv) linked to battery storage systems. Solar pv-battery systems can exist as a mixture of domestic systems and larger ground-mounted systems.

There isn’t yet a similar study for the UK (the big energy companies who fund these things won’t want the truth leaking out!), but there’s logic to suggest that much the same thing might be the case in the UK. Sure, the UK isn’t as sunny as California, although in winter there’s a lot of wind power. But in any case the untold secret of a decentralised solar-plus-battery system is that the batteries will soak up electricity produced from whatever sources so as to even out the pressures on the electricity network. By reducing pressure on the electricity network both transmission and distribution network costs can be reduced.

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How nuclear run-downs in UK and Germany are not stopping electricity being decarbonised

Even-handed analysis of data from Germany and the UK indicates that it is still easily possible to dramatically reduce carbon emissions whilst greatly reducing the amount of energy coming from nuclear power.

One thing not usually appreciated in the arguments about the impact of nuclear power plant retirements in Germany is that in reality much the same process has occurred, for different reasons, in the UK. In both Germany and the UK the falling proportion of electricity coming from nuclear power has gone along with dramatic reductions in carbon emissions from electricity in both countries.

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How the Government is discouraging the installation of heat pumps

The Government is discouraging the adoption of heat pumps through the very important ‘Energy Performance Certificate’ (EPC) system. The EPC system shows energy consumption for particular buildings and gives advice on how to reduce it. It is legally essential when selling properties. Incredibly, even when a property is entirely heated using ‘resistance’ electricity, and therefore especially suitable for heat pumps, the standard advice given for energy improvements fails to mention the most important single measure which is likely to be the conversion of the heating system to a heat pump. Various other piecemeal measures will be selected under the EPC system, but heat pumps are not explicitly promoted.

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There’s a surge in onshore renewable projects with planning consent just waiting for Government-backed contracts!

There is a surge in capacity of onshore wind and solar projects with planning consent in anticipation of more Government-backed contracts being available later this year.

With public attention focussed on offshore wind the increasing amounts of onshore wind and solar projects awaiting commercial opportunities are being ignored. Yet (on top of those projects already under construction) already there is enough renewable energy projects with planning consent to supply over 3 per cent of UK electricity generation.

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Government rubbishes hydrogen in bid to boost new nuclear power

Doug Parr, Chief Science Officer for Greenpeace, exposes how the Government is using unreasonably pessimistic assumptions about storing renewable energy to bolster the case for its scenarios which involve large amounts of nuclear power and fossil generation with carbon capture and storage

How is UK government continuing to justify continued emphasis on nuclear power development when the cost of renewables has fallen so far? The answer is about the weather – government will point out (although this will not be a shock to most people, or renewables energy experts) that the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow. In other words, what can manage the gaps in electricity supply when there isn’t enough solar or wind power? We can max out on electrical connection to other countries, demand response and batteries and there’s still a gap. So to fill that ‘gap’ we need some form of long term storage for renewable power.

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100% RUK Hydrogen position statement, version 2

Hydrogen rating
Using green hydrogen efficiently means using it where direct electrification isn’t an option.  Image © Energy Cities

We say Yes to hydrogen for:

  • Decarbonising heavy industry
    Heavy industry requires large amounts of energy, and whilst some industries could be electrified at best this would place significant additional demands on electricity generation and electricity grids, and in many cases is simply not practical or possible. The leading candidate for using hydrogen is the refinement of iron ore into iron for the steel industry, but others including the ceramics and chemicals industries all have a high potential for conversion to hydrogen.
  • Grid-level energy storage
    There is an easy case to be made for using ‘excess output’ from windfarms and other large-scale renewables in remote locations to produce green hydrogen as a form of energy storage. Such sites can also be located in close proximity to ports, where hydrogen-powered shipping could provide a potentially lucrative local market. More localised use of hydrogen as an energy store, however, is far less favourable as the need for and cost of the necessary infrastructure means batteries offer lower costs and greater flexibility
  • Shipping
    Ships do not suffer from the same constraints of the weight and volume of their power sources that apply to other forms of transport, and the co-location of sources of hydrogen with ports means that hydrogen is a more favourable solution than electrification and batteries. In a one hundred percent renewable future it is highly likely that hydrogen will power the vast majority of ships.

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Boost for 100 per cent renewable energy as Centrica goes for hydrogen storage

Centrica has announced that it is talking to the Government about using the UK’s largest natural gas storage facility to store hydrogen.

Although the stated purpose of the negotiations is to discuss the storage of blue rather than green hydrogen, this is nevertheless a good sign for using hydrogen to store renewable energy. That is because the discussions demonstrate the credibility of the hydrogen storage option.

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Seven reasons why the Government’s ideas on balancing renewables don’t make sense

 

In its latest call for evidence on how to balance renewable energy, the Government wants to make windfarms and solar farms be responsible for assuring power delivery all the time. This is something that is not even required of fossil fuel and nuclear power plants. Apparently fixated on this notion, and also that of ending the current system of incentivising renewables through giving the long term contracts guaranteeing to pay them set electricity prices, the Government ignores the most practical options for balancing fluctuating renewables.

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Why nuclear power is a bad way to balance renewable energy

See the YOUTUBE video:

David Toke, Ian Fairlie and Herbert Eppel from 100percentrenewableuk discuss how nuclear power effectively switches off wind and solar power and how a 100percent renewable energy system is much better for the UK than one involving nuclear power

The Government, backed by a lot of public policy reports paid for by pro-nuclear interests, constantly pushes out the view that nuclear power is ‘essential’ to balancing wind and solar power. But what they never mention is the massive waste of renewables that occurs in such a scenario. Under the scenarios planned by the Government nuclear power is paid very high prices to generate power even when there is excess electricity, which pushes renewables to close down. The Government also refuses to undertake serious investigations of how a system that uses excess renewables to create short and long term storage is a much better way of organising our energy needs rather than wasting more money on building nuclear power statitons.

Look at our video which, drawing upon research on the role of nuclear and renewables, discusses these issues.

If you agree the aims of 100percentrenewableuk please join the discussion via our email group.

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100% RUK Hydrogen position statement, version 1

H2

We say Yes to hydrogen for:

  • Energy storage for ‘excess output’ from windfarms and other big renewables in remote locations (BIG YES)
  • Shipping fuel

We say No to hydrogen for:

  • Domestic heating (energy density issue, distribution issues, need for replacement boilers, cost to householders)
  • Anything to do with fossil fuels, CCS or nuclear (for obvious reasons)

We say Maybe hydrogen for:

  • Non-shipping transport – probably mostly freight haulage
  • Industrial uses (steel, cement etc.)

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Cover-up! how consumers will be forced to pay for cost-overruns for Sizewell C construction

In a historic change of policy the Conservatives have  announced that consumers, not EDF, will pay for cost overruns in building Sizewell C. The crucial phrase in the Government’s document on the so-called ‘Regulated Asset Base’ (RAB) model is ‘Cost overruns that were not excluded from the RAB would be shared between investors and consumers through suppliers’ (para 47 page 14). Note: ‘consumers’ means electricity consumers who will have to pay twice for Sizewell C; extra on their bills long before any power is generated and for many years after generation begins. The inclusion of cost overruns on consumers’ bills means that their bills will rocket upwards even before they receive even a single kWh in supply from Sizewell C .

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How regulations designed to suit the gas industry are strangling heat pumps in the UK

The main reason that the UK is falling behind countries like Germany and Denmark in rolling out heat pumps is because building regulations and other regulations are suited to support gas boilers not heat pumps. This claim has been made by a heat pump installer attempting to develop a cheaper heat pump programme.

This contradicts the story emerging from the Environmental Audit Committee which blames high electricity prices relative to gas as being the biggest problem facing the heat pump programme in the UK.

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