Environment & Energy

Five things we’ve learnt from the Energy White Paper

This week’s is a substantial document that moves the UK a step closer towards a Net Zero energy system. However, it’s clear that the White Paper is largely about ambition, which leaves a lot for the Government to do in 2021.

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Powering Net Zero

The UK Government’s commitment to quadruple offshore wind capacity by 2030 will transform Great Britain’s electricity system. However, it poses serious challenges for the electricity market. Market conditions during the summer lockdown showed that the Government needs to make reforms, otherwise costs will rise and customers won’t benefit from the falling cost of wind and solar.

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Four negative emission technologies (NETs) that could get us to Net Zero

Reaching Net Zero requires more than just reducing emissions. To account for processes that will be exceptionally difficult to decarbonise completely (such as steel or cement making), we actually have to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, thereby balancing out at ‘net’ zero.

‘Negative emissions’ technologies (NETs), also known as Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) technologies, allow us to do that. They remove greenhouse gases – usually carbon dioxide – from the atmosphere and they are needed to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

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Policy Exchange and the PM’s 10-Point Plan

The Prime Minister’s green announcement reflects several policies that we’ve championed over more than a decade.

After some key personnel changes at the top, the Prime Minister has begun his administration’s ‘reset’ with a long-awaited 10-Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. The Plan has been broadly praised for its breadth and welcomed as a major statement of intent across multiple technologies. He combined knotty, unglamorous issues such as home heating with big, visionary technologies like CCS and hydrogen.

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Time to Shine

The Prime Minister’s commitment to 40 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030 is a huge undertaking that will galvanise industry to redouble their efforts to deploy clean energy projects. However, despite the scale of the ambition and the falling cost of offshore wind, the UK could also be getting more from a range of energy technologies by helping them to work together. ‘Hybrid’ clean energy projects, such as solar farms working with batteries, have the potential to significantly reduce costs by sharing components, particularly expensive grid connections. Other combinations include wind with hydrogen production or wind with interconnectors.

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The Future of the North Sea

The North Sea is strategically central to meeting the UK’s target of Net Zero emissions by 2050. By fully developing offshore wind, the North Sea could provide one-third of the UK’s energy needs, and this proportion will grow if low-carbon hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) are also fully developed.

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Latest Environment & Energy Publications

Clean Growth: How to boost business energy productivity

Clean Growth: How to boost business energy productivity

The Government should establish a new Energy Efficiency Delivery Unit and Energy Performance Certificates should be linked to business rates to incentivise landlords to invest more in energy efficiency, according to Clean Growth, the new report from Policy Exchange’s influential and expert Energy and Environment team. The report calls for a new approach by Government to encourage investment in business energy efficiency to reduce carbon emissions and improve business productivity. Existing tools like the Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme can be much better used – and must be extended to public sector institutions like the NHS and MoD.

Driving down emissions: How to clean up road transport?

Driving down emissions: How to clean up road transport?

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In this major new report — by Policy Exchange’s Head of Energy and Environment, Richard Howard, alongside Matt Rooney, Zoe Begherbi, and David Charlesworth — the case is set out that the Government must take more action now to tackle the twin problems of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution from road transport. Amongst other key findings, the report’s analysis reveals that hitting carbon targets will leave a £9-23 billion p.a. hole in tax receipts by 2030, and that official estimates of vehicle emissions and fuel efficiency are highly misleading.

Going Round in Circles: Developing a new approach to waste policy following Brexit

Going Round in Circles: Developing a new approach to waste policy following Brexit

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Brexit presents a huge opportunity for the UK Government to develop a new approach to waste and resources policy. Rather than adopting the EU’s proposed ‘Circular Economy Package’, which would cost British businesses an extra £2 billion over the next twenty years, the British government should use Brexit to define our own approach.

Latest Environment & Energy Blogs

Are we really on the cusp of a ‘hydrogen economy’?

Are we really on the cusp of a ‘hydrogen economy’?

Hydrogen is making headlines again, but is the excitement justified? Josh Burke examines if we are really on the cusp of a ‘hydrogen economy’ and why the Government is right to target investment at lowering the high cost of producing large volumes of low carbon hydrogen.

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