Labour pledges radical reshaping of economy to tackle climate change

Shadow Business & Energy Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey has pledged that Labour would reshape the economy to tackle climate change if it forms the next government.

She said her party needed to be “even more ambitious” and go beyond its current target to source 60% of the UK’s energy from renewable sources by 2030 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by the middle of the century.

Labour has already commissioned a group of experts to advise on necessary steps, with initial...

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Robots to fix underground network pipes

Scientists at four British universities have been given £7 million to develop robots to repair underground pipes.

Science Minister Chris Skidmore said the technology would cut the £5 billion lost each year by businesses due to roadworks.

A further 14 projects will receive £19.6m through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) to send robots into hazardous work places such as offshore wind-farms and nuclear decommissioning facilities.

Researchers will also test new technologies – such as...

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Jump in offshore wind capacity

A record 2.1GW of offshore wind capacity was installed in the UK during 2018, nearly double the previous record of 1.1GW brought online in 2012.

Average turbine capacity has risen by more than 50% during the past year, from 3.7MW to 5.8MW, meaning fewer towers need to be erected at each farm.

Projects opened during the past year included the Walney Extension – the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm – alongside Rampion and Race Bank, as well as the world’s second floating offshore...

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08/01/2019 Sector Round Up

Drax completes ScottishPower deal

Power station operator Drax has completed its purchase of ScottishPower’s hydro-electric schemes, gas-fired power stations and an energy-from-waste plant.

The £702 million deal leaves ScottishPower to focus on its wind farm generation portfolio.

Drax has increased its power generation capacity by 60%, adding 2.6GW of output.

> Read Drax's announcement

 

£1.6m awarded to smart heating project

Energy company OVO and battery technology business Sunamp have...

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Ofgem plans tougher network price controls

Ofgem has confirmed it is proposing much lower returns for network companies for the next price control period from 2021 in a move it said would help deliver a “smarter, fairer and cleaner energy system”.

The regulator’s proposals would set baseline – or cost of equity - returns at 4% - about 50% lower than the previous price controls. The lower overall cost of capital is expected to save consumers £6.5 billion.

It also proposes to keep adjusting the cost of borrowing network companies annually ...

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Solar power on track to be cheaper than fossil fuels

Large scale solar could soon be the cheapest way to generate electricity in the UK, according to a new report by the Solar Trade Association (STA).

Under the trade body’s assessment of the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE), solar is now expected to cost around £50-60/MWh in 2019, down from £80/MWh in the 2014 assessment and also below BEIS’s 2016 estimate.

Although costs vary “significantly” from site to site, the STA said its findings confirm that, under a long-term power purchase contract, ...

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Regulation ‘not fit’ for changing energy world

Electricity supplier licences should be replaced with a risk-assurance framework in order to stimulate innovation, according to a new report.

The Grantham Institute at Imperial College London said the switch would allow new business models to flourish.

It highlighted the growth of decentralised and digitalised energy.

Senior research fellow Jeff Hardy branded the current system for licensing suppliers as “not fit for purpose to unleash this kind of innovation in the market”.

‘Creaky and...

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Wind power met all of Scotland’s energy demand last month

Enough electricity was generated from wind turbines to meet all Scotland’s demand during November.

Environmental group WWF Scotland said 109% of Scottish electricity demand was met by renewables, having “flirted around the 97% mark” during previous months.

Wind production also outstripped demand for 20 out of 30 days during the month.

Demand for the month stood at just under 2TWh.

Need to unlock market access

Gina Hanrahan, Head of Policy at WWF Scotland, said: “Wind power breaking through the...

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City supply chain focus could double decarbonisation impact

Cities should join forces and use collective bargaining to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their supply chains, according to a report from the Green Alliance think tank.

If they act together then cities can double their impact, the researchers found.

They studied the 79 cities in the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, which together account for 7% of global emissions.

The world’s cities account for more than 60% of global energy use, 70% of waste, and more than 70% of global greenhouse gas ...

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Consumers increasingly interest in corporate sustainability

A quarter of Britons believe companies need to improve their environmental responsibility, according to a survey by the Institute of Business Ethics (IBE).

Interest in corporate sustainability has been on the decline since 2008 in the survey, but the institute said the issue had not regained significant focus.

“The increased media attention given to extreme weather and other consequences of pollution may help partly explain this trend,” it said.

The IBE dubbed the turnaround “the Blue Planet...

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