Alex Meredith

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The UK Government today launched its grand plan to help people with their energy bills.  Let me summarise.  There’ll be a change to the Warm Homes Discount (worth on average £12) and a reduction in the Energy Company Obligation (worth around £35).  The average bill will reduce by about £50, but that may be entirely consumed by price rises (based on rises in wholesale power and/or transmission costs) so there’s a good… Read More

Enjoying the September sun amongst the sun-kissed bourgeois of Biarritz, it’s easy to forget that France has a Socialist government. But you only have to turn on the power to see the light of the left is still shining. Electricite de France (EDF) is still 85% owned by the French state and has grown to be the world’s largest producer of electricity. Yet, even with this enormous low-carbon monopoly under its control… Read More

After all the talk of energy shortages and black-outs over the past week, I thought it’s time to take a more positive look at the energy policy horizon.  I’ve picked out a couple of highlights that might help us keep the faith through the long nights huddled around candles rubbing flints together: i) London Array – the world’s biggest offshore wind farm – was officially opened today by David Cameron.  It’s only… Read More

Did you forget to send a Father’s Day gift? Fear not, I have the very thing.  This brilliant idea could save you from a year of repentance and might even win a few brownie points for financial prudence (a highly valued skill in the eyes of all Dads). Instead of rushing to dispatch a flimsy token, this gift will make a real difference to a London community, and might just provide a… Read More

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

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

Here’s a recipe for a May bank holiday treat you won’t find on Masterchef: 1.  Take one converted barn, add a clutch of angelic children, and a sprinkle of doting grandparents. 2.  Stir in a surprise birthday, a formidable quantity of wine and bake in unseasonal warm weather. 3. Allow to cool then serve with the incendiary secret ingredient – a flambee of wind power banter. Nothing, it seems, gets the party… 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