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What has happened to progressive ideas on energy policy?  Politicians seem to be locked in a rhetorical battle to go further and further backwards. There’s talk of a windfall tax which we tried in the noughties; some want a pool which we ditched in the nineties; and some want direct price manipulation which was the fashion of the seventies.  Nationalisation is a word that keeps getting cheers on Question Time.  The debate… Read More

As the Energy Bill  hots up this week, it is essential that the government keeps its head and resists calls for a new target of 50gCO2/kWh by 2030.  Here’s how I see it: Why now? – targets that attempt to centrally mandate a rapid scale-up of renewables should not be set until there is more certainty on grid resiliance, energy storage, CCS and demand management. – the problems of the UK’s planning… Read More

It was no lesser authority than Kenny Rogers who revealed in his 1978 country classic that ‘Every gambler knows; the secret to surviving is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep’.   It is a logic that has been whispered around card tables and hollered at barn dances from Kent to Kentucky ever since.  But today saw perhaps its most unusual application to date.  Forget the precautionary principle or sustainable… Read More

There is a whisper circulating around Westminster that Nick Clegg wants an opportunity to replace Danny Alexander with Ed Davey in the ‘quad’ that settles key coalition policy.   If it happens it would freshen up the central coalition team, dispel any Lib Dem fears of a double agent (Alexander) in the heart of government, and provide a direct challenge to George Osborne’s anti-green agenda.   In short, it’s a good idea. The timing… Read More

The resounding view from around my family’s Easter Sunday lunch table was that Boris Johnson remains the most popular politician in the UK. After a week that saw the London Mayor under the microscope, first in Eddie Mair’s interview mauling, and then Michael Cockerill’s Bullingdon-and-the-Beast documentary, Johnson has emerged with credit for being ‘human’, ‘interesting’ and ‘not towing the party line’. The debate about whether the cuddly bear of British politics could… Read More

Decarbonisation is an ugly, overweight word.  On twitter it is cut to ‘decarb’; like a statutory pasta rationing regime.  But for green groups, it’s the rationing of targets not tagliatelle that is causing stomachs to rumble. Not satisfied with emissions targets for 2050 and 2020, binding carbon budgets, EU renewables targets and global emissions pledges, some environmentalists are demanding another helping of targets.  Or perhaps this is the icing on a layered… Read More

Huhne’s Long Shadow There is never a good day for a former Cabinet minister to admit perverting the course of justice.  However for the department he once led and the green policies he once championed, the guilty plea of former Sec of State for Climate, Chris Huhne, could not have come at a worse time. Since Huhne resigned to ‘clear his name’, Ed Davey and his colleagues at DECC have battled to… Read More

DECC’s gas strategy is a huge gamble for the UK energy consumer.   The Government just took your future energy bills and placed them on a horse named Shale. Whichever way you cut it, the Gas Strategy will see the UK’s medium term energy future hugely reliant on gas power stations – up to 37GW.  Running that amount of plant means a lot of carbon dioxide pumping into the atmosphere, but it also  means… Read More

With in-trays still jammed with the Energy Bill and a big announcement on gas expected today, energy policy-makers have had a busy week domestically.  Now to take on the rest of the world…. Ed Davey arrived in Doha today with optimism thin on the ground.  A comprehensive deal seems as remote as ever and his  ability to exercise as much influence as his predecessor in pushing negotiations forward was considered doubtful. Yet… Read More

Another week, another big call for energy policy.  Following last week’s Energy Bill, it is time for Ed Davey to point the way on the use of unconventional gas supplies.  He will give fracking the green light following the George Osborne’s Autumn Statement which is widely expected to include tax breaks for the companies experimenting with the process. Fracking is another of the unjust energy solutions that realises possible long term benefits… Read More