The Informer

This week's headlines: investments in both carbon capture technology and electric vehicle charging points are in the pipeline, as part of a £500m green technology funding pot announced by the Energy Minister; security of supply may need to be reviewed after last month’s major power cut; and a revamp of the Government’s clean growth strategy is planned.

  • £500m investment in green technologies

    The number of electric vehicle rapid charging points in the UK is poised to double by 2024 as part of plans by the UK Government to invest half a billion pounds in environmentally friendly infrastructure.

    An initial £70m will be invested by ministers and United Arab Emirates-based firm Masdar to install 3,000 rapid charging points, with the Treasury planning to invest up to £200m in order to attract match funding from the private sector.

    A further £142.9m will be supplied by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to green projects, including carbon capture and storage, food production and recycling. Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said: “These pioneering projects will help us maintain our world-leading position in this field, and to make further strides towards a more sustainable future for our planet.”

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps added: “This fund will help drum up further investment in charging infrastructure from the private sector, so charging an electric car becomes as easy as plugging in a smart phone.”

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  • Review of back-up power suggested following blackout

    National Grid Electricity System Operator’s (ESO’s) final report into last month’s blackout has suggested the network’s security of supply standards may need to be reviewed.

    Its report also said a review of the timescales for delivery of the Accelerated Loss of Mains Change Programme – which took around 500MW of embedded generation such as domestic solar panels and battery storage off the grid – might be necessary.

    National Grid ESO’s report also gave more details about the power cut, revealing that the total loss of generation reached nearly 1.9GW after multiple failures at RWE’s Little Barford gas-fired power station, Orsted’s Hornsea offshore wind farm and 150MW of embedded generation following a vector shift caused by a lightning strike.

    Ofgem will use the report as part of the evidence in its probe into National Grid ESO, National Grid Electricity Transmission, the operators of 12 electricity distribution networks, and the two power generators.

    The Energy Emergencies Executive Committee (E3C) is due to report to ministers by tomorrow (Wednesday 18th September).

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  • ‘Eight-fold rise in wind and solar’ to meet Paris pledges

    A report from risk management firm DNV GL has estimated that eight times more solar and wind power is needed by 2030 in order to hit the Paris climate change prevention targets.

    Ten times more solar power is needed, taking global capacity to 5TW, while five times more wind is needed at 3TW and battery production for electric vehicles needs to rise 50-fold.

    The report also recommends investing more than $1.5 trillion (£1.2tn) annually in the expansion and reinforcement of power grids by 2030, including ultra-high-voltage transmission networks and extensive demand-response to balance variable wind and solar power.

    Global energy efficiency will need to improve by 3.5% each year within the next decade, while green hydrogen will be needed to store excess renewable energy produced by the grid.

    Ditlev Engel, Chief Executive of DNV GL Energy, said: “Governments, businesses and society as a whole need to change the prevailing mindset from ‘business-as-usual’ to ‘business-as-unusual’ to fast-track the energy transition.”

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  • Major revamp of clean growth strategy in pipeline

    Climate Minister, Lord Duncan has revealed that the UK Government’s clean growth strategy will be updated following the introduction of the net zero carbon dioxide emissions target.

    The Committee on Climate Change had previously warned that the strategy wasn’t enough to meet the previous climate change targets - even before the net zero aim was introduced.

    Analysts have suggested that the new strategy should focus on areas including energy efficiency, electric vehicle uptake and further decarbonisation of the power sector.

    Duncan told the House of Lords: “We will need to be bold about taking ourselves forward to net zero by 2050, because our present initiatives are not adequate to deliver that."

    “There will need to be a significant refresh not just of the wider clean growth strategy but of all aspects of this covering all government departments.”

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  • UK to host COP26 climate summit

    Glasgow is on course to host the 26th United Nations’ Conference of the Parties (COP) climate change meeting in December 2020 after receiving the backing of other countries.

    The UK’s hosting of the event is expected to receive formal backing at this year’s meeting in Chile.

    Under the proposed deal, Italy will host preparatory events and an accompanying youth summit.

    Former Energy Minister Claire Perry, nominated by the UK Government to chair the COP26 meeting, said: “In 2020, world leaders will come together to discuss how to tackle climate change on a global scale – and where better to do so than Glasgow, one of the UK’s most sustainable cities with a great track record for hosting high-profile international events.”

    More than 30,000 delegates are expected to attend the event in Scotland.

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