Alex Meredith

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  Waves of announcements from energy companies, policy makers and regulators have been crashing in like Atlantic storms over the past few weeks.  This always seems to happen when I’m on holiday.  Our summer holiday saw Ed Miliband’s price freeze announcement to the Labour conference, which has now given way to a Spring break punctuated by an actual price freeze from SSE. That sounds like good news. But within SSE’s announcement was… Read More

Poll after poll the data has shown that the UK’s switch to clean electricity chimes with the  public.  Here are the latest figures published this month: 65% in favour of continuing support for the wind industry. 76% in favour of financial support for tidal power; and 79% in favourable to continued support for solar power. The survey was produced by YouGov for the Sunday Times, which has taken the temperature of public… Read More

There has been a lot of talk about subsidies for the renewables sector this week, so I thought it might be useful to ponder, for a moment, a world without subsidies. In this world, the energy mix might look different.  But the changes might not be the ones that critics of renewables subsidies would expect. Fossil fuels benefit from a $523bn (2011) global subsidy.  This is 500% more subsidy than the renewables… 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

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

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

Connecting communities to their local renewable power supply seems to me to be one of the best ways to achieve a popular green revolution. Bottom-up action is always the most effective and sustainable and coming together to construct an Archimedes screw or windmill might be more appealing to a broader range of people than funding a new church roof. Community schemes can also profoundly change attitudes to the visibility of renewable energy… 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