The Informer

This week's headlines: a committee of MPs has warned the UK is not on track to achieve its net zero target; lightning is blamed for the major power cut earlier this month; and the UK may have much lower shale gas reserves than previously thought.

  • Net zero impossible without more policy support warn MPs

    The renewables industry has endorsed a warning from the House of Commons’ Science & Technology Committee that the UK will miss its 2050 net zero target if ministers don’t put policies in place now to support green energy.

    RenewableUK and the Renewable Energy Association welcomed recommendations from MPs, including calls for the UK Government to introduce policies that support onshore wind and solar power, to review the Smart Export Guarantee by the end of 2020 and to realign Ofgem’s objectives so they include meeting emission reduction targets under the Climate Change Act.

    Other measures suggested in the report include a strategy for decarbonising heat, an incentive scheme for energy efficiency home improvement projects, and plans for reducing vehicle emissions.

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  • Lightning blamed for blackout

    A lightning strike is being blamed for Britain’s biggest power cut in a decade.

    In its preliminary report, National Grid Electricity System Operator (NGESO) said a bolt struck a transmission circuit north of London, causing RWE’s Little Barford gas-fired power station and Orsted’s Hornsea offshore wind farm to shut down.

    The loss of generation meant customers were cut off, including parts of the railway network, leading to long delays and cancellations for Friday night commuters.

    An Ofgem investigation will examine whether NGESO, National Grid Electricity Transmission, 12 distribution network operators and the two generators followed licensing rules correctly in the aftermath of the lightning strike. NGESO’s full report to Ofgem is due before 6 September.

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  • Environment in focus as business leaders urge ‘purpose before profit’

    Profits for shareholders must not come at the expense of the environment or society, according to a statement signed by more than 180 major businesses.

    Members of the Business Roundtable – including American Airlines, Coca-Cola and Walmart – said they believe a free market is the best way of achieving a “healthy environment."

    Other measures outlined in an open letter signed by 181 of the US-based group’s 192 members included delivering value to customers, investing in employees, and dealing fairly and ethically with suppliers.

    Jamie Dimon, Chief Executive at JP Morgan Chase and Chair of the roundtable, said the declaration “will help to set a new standard for corporate leadership."

    Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, added: “It is more critical than ever that businesses in the 21st century are focused on generating long-term value for all stakeholders and addressing the challenges we face, which will result in shared prosperity and sustainability for both business and society.”

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  • Climate change to see UK GDP fall 4%

    If governments do not tackle climate change then the UK’s economic output could drop by 4% by 2100, according to a report from the University of Cambridge and the National Bureau of Economic Research.

    Global gross domestic product (GDP) would fall by 7%, with Japan, India and New Zealand 10% lower, the United states down 10.5% and Russia off by 9%. The researchers also outlined scenarios under which GDP losses in North America could be limited to 2%.

    Kamiar Mohaddes, a co-author of the study, said: “Whether cold snaps or heat waves, droughts, floods or natural disasters, all deviations of climate conditions from their historical norms have adverse economic effects.”

    The report analysed data from 174 countries stretching back to 1960.

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  • Shale gas reserves ‘much lower’ than thought

    The UK Government said shale gas exploration is needed to assess the industry’s potential after a study cast doubt on the level of reserves.

    The British Geological Survey and the University of Nottingham said as little as 10 years’ worth of gas may lie beneath the UK, compared to a 2013 estimate of 50 years of gas.

    “The government is supportive of shale gas exploration in order to understand the size of the opportunity here in the UK,” an official spokesman said.

    Meanwhile, shale gas explorer Cuadrilla has stopped drilling at Preston New Road in Lancashire after an earthquake measuring a record 1.6 on the Richter scale was detected, just a week after work restarted at the site.

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