Alex Meredith

Archives

The conclusion of the government’s consultation on planning guidance for onshore wind farms in England has thrown up some significant changes.  Here are my initial thoughts: – the idea of discounts on energy bills for communities living near wind farms is logical, simple, and personal.  It is a shame that it has taken so long for developers to offer this incentive.  But it will set an interesting precedent in planning  – should… 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

I’m finding talk of 2030 a little unnerving.  In 17 years I will be nearing 50 and my 3 month old daughter will be learning to drive. I’ll be into corderoys, Christmas-jumpers and Classic FM, she’ll have swapped her baby gro for a onesie, her dummie for a tongue piercing and her BCG jab for a tattoo. Yet, there is hope that some things will be brighter in 2030.  And (to a… 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

Pacific Rim Countries Can Diffuse Carbon Bomb In a troubling report this week commissioned by Greenpeace, Ecofys has identified 14 fossil fuel projects that could add 20% to the world’s carbon emissions by 2020. They have described the effect of these projects as the ticking ‘carbon bomb’ which if it is allowed to go off will send the world towards 6 degrees centigrade of warming. Unsurprisingly, emissions from Chinese projects provide the… Read More

High profile Conservatives (including the Chancellor and the Energy minister John Hayes) spent most of 2012 trying to undermine and diminish the UK’s already doubtful commitment to building a  green economy.   Whether is was vetoing decarbonisation targets in the Energy Bill or publicly criticising proven renewable technologies, the dog whistle politics of backing industry or countryside lobbies over environmental concerns was too tempting to resist.  By the end of the year Tory… Read More

At a seminar this week there was a chance to hear from one of the key protagonists in the governments discussions on climate change policy. David Kennedy (CEO of the Committee on Climate Change) was candid in confirming that energy policy was now being run from Number 10 and the Treasury.   His view was that this represented a grave risk as the lack of resources to handle the technical detail of the… Read More

It was a gentle and carefree ride for David Cameron through his supposed ‘grilling’ by the Ad Hoc Select Committee on Tuesday. Facing questions on energy policy, the committee had an arsenal of ammunition at their disposal.  Bickering ministers, contradictory policies and extraordinary vetoes could have put the Prime Minister in the cross hairs.  Sadly the committee members were mostly firing blanks.  Cameron was comfortable, so comfortable in fact that his greatest… Read More

The FT broke the story, but Damian Carrington at the Guardian has put it in clearest context.  The blocking of the appointment of David Kennedy as the new permanent secretary to DECC is an extraordinary intervention by a Prime Minister.  It shows a leader so desperate to undermine the progressive moves by DECC to support green growth that he will resort to naked exercise of his prerogative to veto a transparent recruitment… Read More

In a year when ‘omnishambles’ took all the laurels for new political vocabulary my personal favourite is the ‘energy trilemma’.  How does a government in a country of fully privatised energy sector keep the lights on, keep energy affordable and reduce carbon emissions.  During a successful and popular period at DECC,  Ed Miliband was keenly aware of the trilemma.  Yet he treated it like decorating the spare room – a lot time… Read More