Environment & Energy Blogs

Comment on the Government’s 25-year environmental plan

Comment on the Government’s 25-year environmental plan

Policy Exchange’s Josh Burke comments on the Prime Minister’s speech on the environment – the first such speech by a Prime Minister in over ten years. Burke comments favourably, noting the pledges to reduce plastic waste, create a new forest and to make development environmentally sustainable. Funding will remain a challenge for some projects but largely this plan will be welcomed by those who believe in conservation.

The secret to cheaper energy – it’s all in the cost curve

The secret to cheaper energy – it’s all in the cost curve

The cost of energy is frequently cited as one of the issues voters care about most, but how can we bring costs down? Various new electricity generation technologies, like wave energy, tidal lagoons and small modular nuclear reactors, stand on the precipice of mass deployment. But industry alone may not be willing or able to make the leap from demonstration and commercial deployment. Should the Government intervene to help bridge the gap? In this article originally published in Business Green, Policy Exchange Research Fellow Matt Rooney explores the concept of ‘technological learning’. Can other technologies replicate the success of solar panels and wind turbines to bring costs down and make them competitive with established technologies?

Challenges and opportunities for the UK trade in waste

Challenges and opportunities for the UK trade in waste

Following his evidence session to the Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub Committee, Energy and Environment Research fellow Joshua Burke reflects on the opportunities and challenges facing the UKs trade in waste post Brexit. The impact of tariff and non-tariff barriers on the regulatory, spatial, environmental and economic dimensions that govern the UK’s trade in waste are examined in the context of Refuse Derived Fuel.

The Helm Cost of Energy Review: the invisible hand versus the activist state

The Helm Cost of Energy Review: the invisible hand versus the activist state

Matthew Rooney, Energy and Environment Research Fellow at Policy Exchange, responds to Dieter Helm’s recent Cost of Energy Review. The review, commissioned by the Government and released last week, sparked much debate online. The main dividing line, Rooney explains, is between those who believe that an activist state and large subsidies for renewable energy deployment are necessary to bring down costs, and those who think the Government’s main role is to create a level playing field for low carbon technologies to compete without subsidy. Helm’s big idea is a carbon tax with border carbon adjustments. Could that work and what are its potential benefits?

The Clean Growth Strategy: worth the wait?

The Clean Growth Strategy: worth the wait?

Policy Exchange’s Energy and Environment Research Fellows, Matthew Rooney and Joshua Burke, respond to the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy. The long awaited strategy document detailing how the UK will meet their emissions reductions targets was published on Thursday. In it there is positive news for onshore wind, nuclear power and the hydrogen economy, whilst fracking is a notable absence. A next big decision for the Government to make is whether the UK will remain in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Policy Exchange are currently conducting research into the potential benefits of leaving the scheme and implementing a British carbon tax system.

What has been missed or misunderstood in this week’s Euratom debate?

What has been missed or misunderstood in this week’s Euratom debate?

Matt Rooney — Policy Exchange’s Energy and Environment Research Fellow — reflects on the way in which the Government’s view that leaving the EU must also mean leaving Euratom has made this previously obscure treaty into a ‘political battleground’. Calling for a national discussion about how to withdraw from Euratom smoothly, he posits that this will be the ‘first real test of the UK’s ability to leave the EU and open up to the world’.

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