A new report concludes that a 100% renewable energy mix for the UK would save well over £100bn in achieving net zero by 2050, compared to the UK Government’s current strategy. It would also mean more than 20% lower cumulative carbon emissions in the process. The study, carried out by renowned energy modelling academics at LUT University in Finland, involves hour-by-hour simulation of different scenarios for reaching net zero for UK energy systems.
The claims for a breakthrough in fusion power are not only exaggerated but in reality concerned principally with military objectives.
This test, carried out by the National Ignition Facility at US Government’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), was mainly to facilitate the testing of nuclear weapons. This fact was missed in almost all the hyperbole surrounding the test.
Renewable energy of all sorts is at least twice as popular with the British public compared to nuclear power according to the newly released ‘BEIS Public Opinion Tracker Autumn 2022‘. Solar power was supported or strongly supported by 89% of respondents, offshore wind by 85% and onshore wind by 79%. This was compared to only 37% for nuclear power, 25% for fracking and 44% for carbon capture and storage. The survey recorded that just 29% of people believe that nuclear energy ‘provides a safe source of energy in the UK’.
83% of people were ‘concerned’ or ‘very concerned’ about climate change. The most popular change in behaviour favored by the public to deal with climate change is ‘to choose to walk or cycle instead of using a car’.
Academics have received a boost by the results which say that 86% of the public trust ‘a great deal’ or ‘to some extent’ scientists at universities. This compares to just 15% for social media, 41% for newspapers and 47% for the UK Government.
The results of the surveys clash heavily with Government priorities. Onshore wind is still (despite recent claimed changes) highly restricted compared to other energy generation technologies. Onshore wind schemes must demonstrate that they have the support of the local community.
On the other hand in the case of nuclear power, when it is proved that local people do not want a nuclear power station, they are simply overruled by the Government. Earlier this year the Planning Inspectorate ruled that the application for planning consent for Sizewell C nuclear power plant should be rejected. However, this was overruled by the then BEIS Secretary Kwasi Kwateng, who approved the project.
By David Toke
Campaign for green buildings – Make solar panels on suitable buildings mandatory and ban fossil fuel heating in new buildings SIGN the petition here!
The past week has seen the media full of stories about how the Government has done a u-turn on wind power to allow windfarms to be planned in England. This is less than half true. Crippling restrictions on planning new English windfarms will remain whereas, in contrast, a less publicised announcement favouring solar farms will have much more positive impact for renewable expansion.
Heat pump sales are surging throughout Europe, except the UK where gas interest-inspired myths about heat pumps hold sway. Heat pump sales are the lowest per household in the UK in all of the 21 countries covered by a report produced by the European Heat Pump Association. Sales in 21 European countries have doubled in 2021 compared to 2016.
Gas industry lobbyists are working hard to water down the Government’s commitment to ban fossil fuel boilers in new homes from 2026, and there are signs they might win their battle. Not only that, but it looks like there will be no encouragement to install solar panels as a means of achieving carbon emission reductions. The new building regulations are supposed to be unveiled in 2024 (and implemented in 2026).
The projected cost of new nuclear power has risen by almost fourfold since the UK Government made estimates in 2008, and the cost is still rising. Nuclear analysts warn that the cost to consumers of funding Sizewell C through the so-called ‘Regulatory Asset Base’ (RAB) model will be much higher than has been projected by the Government.
As if threats to ban solar farms from most suitable land in the countryside wasn’t enough, the next set of building regulations may sideline solar pv for new buildings.
The renewables industry is currently embroiled in an unedifying struggle with the Government over windfall profits. This should be ended quickly with an agreement that should keep the projects in business and save consumers lots and lots of money.
My ears perked up in eager anticipation when Keir Starmer, in his address to Labour’s Conference, started talking about setting up a state-backed renewable energy development company. But I sighed with despair when it became clearer that this would be an investment conduit for what would be failing, black hole-type, nuclear projects.
The current energy crisis reveals how UK Government misled people over renewables support during the debate over Scotttish independence in 2014.
During the Scottish independence debate in 2014 the impression was given by the UK Government that support for renewables under the renewables obligation would all but disappear, but the current debate in the energy crisis suggests that this was total nonsense.
Recent days have seen Government ministers blaming opposition parties for the failure to deploy nuclear power in the UK. But the problem is not politicians, not the Conservatives, Labour or anyone else; it is the extreme difficulty of delivering nuclear power itself. Financially, it is a basket case, and any other technology with similar problems simply wouldn’t get past the lobbyists’ meetings with politicians.
According to the latest issue of Energy Trends, UK natural gas exports to the European continent hit a new height in the second quarter of 2022. A quantity equivalent to nearly 10 per cent of UK natural gas consumption (80 TWh) was exported to the continent. This is in the context of a massive buy-up by European storage facilities to prepare for winter consumption.
The extent of this trade highlights the fact that even if much larger quantities of natural gas is sucked from the North Sea or through fracking on land, it will make no discernable difference to the price British consumers have to pay for natural gas. More gas drilling just means that more product is available to sell to the highest bidder around the world. And the price of the highest bid will be determined today by the price of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) on the world market.
Danny Kruger, who is quoted as organising a lobby against ‘windfall profits’ by renewable generators is implicitly admitting that renewables are a lot cheaper than gas.