7 August, 2020 – The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Reports have shown that the Bank has been offering support packages to large companies without environmental conditions, going against their stated prioritisation of low-carbon finance. The Bank’s Corporate Bond Purchase Programme has invested £11.4bn of the total £20bn in energy-intensive and high emitting sectors.
7 August, 2020 – Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng has announced a review of current energy infrastructure at sea, focusing on improving the cabling and transmission network to reduce costs and impacts of connecting new wind farms to the onshore grid. The announcement follows an Oil and Gas Authority report which found that offshore renewables could account for 30% of the emissions reductions needed by 2050.
6 August, 2020 – Industry figures are calling for the Scottish government to set fixed timelines for each stage of the planning and decision-making process for onshore wind. It was also stated that excessive weight had been given to landscape in the planning system, potentially inhibiting the drive for green infrastructure.
5 August, 2020 – The University of Surrey is set to start developing a battery that captures carbon dioxide emissions. This project aims to position the UK as a leader in portable energy storage through breakthroughs in efficient carbon dioxide fixation.
5 August, 2020 – Iberdrola has announced it will build and operate the world’s largest onsite self-consumption solar power system in Spain. The 100MW array will create up to 500 jobs during construction and will provide green electricity to SABIC’s industrial plant, making the industrial complex the first large-scale chemical production facility to operate fully on renewable electricity.
4 August, 2020 – Alphabet Inc, Google’s parent company, has issued £4.4bn in sustainability bonds, which is the largest sustainability bond issued by a corporation to date. Projects that can receive support from the bond include energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, as well as those addressing racial equality and circular economy.
27 July, 2020 – Good Energy has announced a new heat pump tariff, which is set to offer cheaper rates when the grid is greener and experiencing lower demand. The tariff thus aims to make greener heating more cost-effective for UK households. After Rishi Sunak’s announcement of the Green Homes scheme, where homeowners can claim up to £10,000 for heat pumps, this tariff is a welcome additional push to help heat pump deployment increase.
27 July, 2020 – The expansion of offshore wind, bioenergy and carbon capture and storage could lead to negative emissions in the power sector by 2033. Demand-side response and storage will also contribute to this net zero projection. However, to achieve this, we need immediate action across key technologies and policy areas, most notably in the transport, heating and energy efficiency sectors.
27 July, 2020 – Renewable energy is likely to become the cheapest kind of power to produce in the UK, meaning that consumers may benefit from cheaper energy bills. With the UK is dominating the global offshore wind market, offshore wind may become cheaper than fossil-fuelled power stations. Rapid technology development, allowing larger turbines to be built further out at sea, has allowed for this decrease in price.
YouGov poll finds that only 23 percent of British citizens believe burning wood from forests should be classed as ‘renewable energy’
24 July, 2020 – A YouGov poll found that only 23% of British citizens think biomass should be classified as renewable energy, while 55% oppose continued Government subsidies for this technology. Research has shown that large-scale biomass use can release more carbon than a coal plant, especially when including the emissions from importing biomass overseas.
24 July, 2020 – The Treasury Committee is relaunching an inquiry to examine whether the UK’s response to coronavirus should take net zero targets into account. Specifically, the committee wants to address whether support packages should distinguish between companies based on their pollution levels. Without green conditions on financial assistance, public money will be used to support businesses whose efforts do not align with net zero targets.
22 July, 2020 – The UK government has announced a suite of funding that targets emissions reduction in the heavy industry sector. Investments will be used to help decarbonise aviation, construction and transport, as well as bring CCS technologies online and at scale. Although this helps address important areas of reduction, carbon pricing, as well as stricter mandates on embodied carbon and energy efficiency will likely be needed.
19 July, 2020 – The potential for green hydrogen production in the UK is immense, owing to high winds from the North Sea. The UK has all the ingredients to make hydrogen successful, but significant government intervention is needed. Successful expansion of hydrogen will reduce emissions, provide real export opportunities and boost job prospects in regions suffering most from the impact of coronavirus.
17 July, 2020 –Transport for London (TfL) is aiming to source all its electricity requirements from zero-carbon sources by 2030 through power purchase agreements. As TfL is one of the largest electricity consumers in the UK, this will act as a significant step to reaching the UK’s net zero target. The plans will also explore the potential for meeting the Greater London Authority group’s wider demand for renewable electricity.
16 July, 2020 – A new analysis by Thrive Renewables suggests that onshore renewables could pump £38.9bn into the UK economy by 2035 and save energy users up to £1.5bn a year. This would require building 5.5GW of onshore renewable capacity annually between now and 2035. The report suggests that policy stability and the removal of planning difficulties will be needed for onshore renewables to reach their full potential.
15 July, 2020 – Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng launched a review into the existing offshore transmission regime to address the barriers it creates for future offshore deployment. The review will see a focus on projects due online before 2025 and will consider how to give developers the flexibility to test new ways of bringing power to shore. It will also look further into the future, seeking to create a long-term regime that helps limit environmental, social and economic costs.
15 July, 2020 – A new analysis by IHS Markit Hydrogen and Renewable Gas Forum states that green hydrogen production could become cost-competitive by 2030, owing to increased scale and standardised manufacturing. The study suggests that hydrogen will be used increasingly to decarbonise the transport, heating, industry and power generation sectors.
15 July, 2020 – BEIS ministers voted to enable storage projects above 50MW and have altered local planning frameworks to shorten the application process. BEIS believes that this will help more renewable generation come online and balance the grid, as well as boost the economy after lockdown. These changes are a welcome step on our way to net zero.
13 July, 2020 – Despite the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, global offshore wind investment more than quadrupled in the first half of 2020. BNEF believes this can be attributed to falling capital costs. The growth in offshore wind powered a 5% rise in total renewable energy investment to $132.4bn, despite a slump in onshore wind and solar projects.
13 July, 2020 – East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust has released a plan to power half of Margate’s Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital with 1,200 solar panels. Plans also include the deployment of LED lighting and the upgrade of heating systems. This project is expected to save more than 2,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and £1.2m per year. Interested in cost and carbon savings? Contact us today.
13 July, 2020 – Construction has begun on the world’s longest subsea power cable, which will transport renewable energy between Britain and Denmark. This ‘Viking Link’ project aims to increase Britain’s access to green power and help prevent homegrown renewable energy from going to waste when generation is too high. The cable is set to be operational in 2023.
£35bn green energy overhaul to prepare UK for zero-carbon electricity system – and makes bills cheaper
9 July, 2020 – Ofgem has proposed a £35bn overhaul of the energy network, making it greener and more resilient. The money will be invested in new wind and solar farms, as well as network upgrades to deal with the intermittent nature of renewable energy. Further changes will include the addition of hydrogen into the grid to help decarbonise heat.
8 July, 2020 – A flywheel project in north-east Scotland aims to be operational by winter of 2021 and will help stabilise the grid’s electrical frequency, removing the need for carbon-emitting spinning turbines. This project will allow the grid to use more renewable energy and help prevent future blackouts, like that seen in August 2019.
8 July, 2020 – According to RenewableUK, renewable energy can provide 12,000 new jobs and £20bn of new investments to the UK. If policymakers lift capacity caps for the renewable energy auction in 2021, 11GW of new onshore and offshore wind could be secured. Further boosting of the development of renewable infrastructure would support faster decarbonisation of the transport and domestic heating sectors.
8 July, 2020 – Edinburgh’s Saughton Park has become the UK’s first fully eco-powered greenspace. Its micro-hydro technology generates electricity for all the park’s needs, including the running of two ground source heat pump systems, which heat the buildings. Over 90 tonnes of carbon dioxide and £19,000 will be saved annually
8 July, 2020 – Exeter City Council has announced plans to build a 1.2MW solar array co-located with a 1MW battery. This scheme will help the city reach its net zero by 2030 target. Interested in becoming a world-leading green city? Contact us to see how onsite renewables can reduce your organisation’s carbon emissions while saving money on energy bills.
8 July, 2020 – The Renewable Energy Association has described the £3bn of green recovery offered by the UK Government as a “drop in the ocean.” With no mention of renewables, the plans have been criticised as uncomprehensive. Although money will contribute to energy efficiency improvements and a drive on green job creation, £3bn is not in the right ballpark for a world-leading green recovery.
2 July, 2020 – The UK government has granted consent to the 1.8GW Norfolk Vanguard project, which would provide electricity for nearly two million homes. Located 30 miles offshore, the farm will consist of 90-180 turbines and will provide 400 jobs during the construction phase. This project will boost the government’s chances of delivering 40GW of offshore wind by 2030.
30 June, 2020 – Improving the energy efficiency of UK homes by increasing insulation could create 8,000 jobs, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, save on household energy bills and help protect the NHS. Increased physical and mental health benefits will prevent excess winter deaths and could save the NHS £63 million in the first year of roll-out.
30 June, 2020 – Non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) applicants have been given a 14-month extension to complete projects delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. This extension will provide certainty and security to those in the renewable heat industry, helping stop 108 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from being emitted and providing new green-collar jobs.
30 June, 2020 – Boris Johnson has committed to plant more than 30,000 hectares of trees per year and spend £40 million on local conservation projects. He said he would step up investments in technologies like net zero planes and renewables, however, he made no mention of improving home insulation. We need to retrofit and renovate to meet net zero, as, by 2050, 80% of UK families will still be living in homes that have already been built today.
29 June, 2020 – Yorkshire Water hs opened a tender for an agreement that covers the development of solar arrays across 150 of their sites. The generated electricity will be purchased by the water company under a PPA, with all surplus exported to the grid. Once operational, 6000 tonnes of carbon dioxide will be saved per year, energy costs will be reduced and biodiversity will be enhanced. We can help companies like Yorkshire Water meet their net zero goals through onsite renewables. Contact us to get started today.
26 June, 2020 – Ofgem, the UK energy regular, has deferred extra grid balancing costs arising from the impact of the pandemic. National Grid will recover excess charges equally across 2021-22 instead. BSUoS charges being capped at £15/MWh should avoid generators and suppliers going bust.
25 June, 2020 – A consortium of trade associations related to the renewables industry has sent an open letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak calling for renewables to be embedded in the UK’s recovery package. The letter highlights the value of developing a circular economy to help meet net zero targets and provide a return on investment, as well as millions of jobs and energy security.
25 June, 2020 – In the first quarter of 2020, 47% of the UK’s electricity generation was provided by renewable generation, surpassing the previous record of 39%. The increase seen was driven by growth in solar and wind generation, with a notable increase of 53% in offshore wind power generation since last year.
24 June, 2020 – The latest Aurora Energy Research report suggests that hydrogen could provide around half of the energy needed to power the UK’s industrial sector. For this to happen, policy and industry will need to collaborate at a rapid scale and will require a collective investment of £450bn. Hydrogen doesn’t only present a great path to net zero, but it is suggested that 55,000 jobs will be safeguarded.
22 June, 2020 – Brighton Council plans to install solar panels on 500 households, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 300 tonnes per year. Set to finish by 2023, the scheme will have a significant impact on meeting their carbon-neutral by 2030 target. At OnGen, we have helped several local authorities meet their targets through onsite renewables. Contact us to kickstart your journey today.
22 June, 2020 – The benefits from solar, LED lights and ground source heat pumps are immense; from energy security to cost savings, the consumer is likely to benefit in more ways than one. Interested in transforming your energy consumption? Contact us to find out what renewable and energy efficiency options are right for your site.
18 June, 2020 – The UK government has rolled out plans to increase smart meter installation through increased publicity. Smart meters can save consumers up to £250 on their bills and can slash carbon dioxide emissions by 45 million tonnes. Smart meters can, therefore, help the UK reach its important net zero target.
18 June, 2020 – Construction near Manchester is beginning on the world’s largest liquid air battery, which will store renewable electricity. The system will use spare green energy to compress air into a liquid and store it to be later released into a gas to power a turbine. This project, set to be operational in 2022, will be able to power 200,000 homes for 5 hours.
17 June, 2020 – SSE Renewables has plans to press ahead with the UK’s biggest onshore wind farm, a 443MW project on Shetland. It is hoped that the project will be completed in 2024 and would create about 400 jobs at peak construction. This project will help Shetland harness its renewable potential, securing its electricity supplies and decarbonising its energy source.
17 June, 2020 – More than 27,000 clean energy jobs were lost in May, owing to the coronavirus pandemic. Since the start of the pandemic, it is suggested that over 620,500 clean energy workers have become unemployed. Through a green recovery, we hope this number bounces back and green jobs are prioritised to deliver a clean and green future.
16 June, 2020 – In a new letter to the Secretary of State of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma, the Solar Trade Association states that the UK government should commit to a 40GW solar capacity target. The government should also implement green tax reform to ensure sustainable growth of rooftop solar and battery storage. Green finance should be available for solar installations through grants or zero-interest loans.
16 June, 2020 – As coronavirus lockdown restrictions begin to ease, there are early signs that domestic renewable energy installations are recovering. The average number of solar installations in May rose by 37% compared to April, as caution eases and the supply chain begins to be restored. Interested in solar? Assess the feasibility on your site using the OnGen Expert. Contact us for more information.
12 June, 2020 – The Scottish Government has launched a £62m fund to help the energy sector recover from the coronavirus pandemic. This Energy Transition Fund will support businesses grow and diversify, ultimately helping Scotland meet its ambitious net zero targets. Projects that are being considered for funding include a hydrogen hub and an energy transition zone.
11 June, 2020 – Jobs insulating homes can be created at a fraction of the cost of other construction jobs and help cut local pollution and energy bills. 700,000 direct jobs could be created in England’s low-carbon and renewable energy economy by 2030, with 46% of those related directly to clean electricity generation and 21% involved in energy efficiency product installation.
10 June, 2020 – Crown Estate Scotland has launched a leasing round for up to 10GW of offshore wind, the first in Scottish waters for a decade. Agreements can lead to leases for offshore wind farm development, forming a large part of Scotland’s green recovery. Total investment could surpass £8 billion and deliver more than enough green electricity to power every Scottish household.
10 June, 2020 – Think tank Policy Exchange found that environmental professionals were the second-least diverse profession in the UK, with only 3% of professionals identifying as non-white minorities. Companies listed at the top of racial and ethnic diversity parameters are 35% more likely to deliver financial returns. Everyone must talk about racism more, call out instances of racism and take action to rectify them. Black Lives Matter.
9 June, 2020 – Reductions in carbon dioxide emissions during the lockdown are likely to be temporary unless we make real changes. Onsite renewables can help take pressure off the grid, improve energy security and save money on energy bills. Interested in joining the collective fight against climate change through installing onsite renewables? Contact us today to get started.
9 June, 2020 – The lockdown caused by the pandemic has the potential to change the energy industry long term. Wholesale electricity prices went negative, causing grid operators to pay their customers to use power and nuclear plants provided nearly half of the low carbon electricity used in Europe; how will the energy sector look following the pandemic?
8 June, 2020 – Business secretary Alok Sharma has launched a recovery round table to examine ways of stimulating economic growth through a green transition. The round table acts to increase efforts to listen to the business and academic communities to ensure a green economic bounce-back. The work from the round table will feed directly into how the government structures their economic recovery.
4 June, 2020 – BEIS plans to protect suppliers from 80% of the increase in suppliers’ obligations under the CfD, owing to the impact of the pandemic. CfD regulations will also be amended to defer an increase in obligations by an additional quarter, pushing to the second quarter of 2021. Proposals are now going to parliament for approval, which is predicted before 9 July.
3 June, 2020 – WindEurope and other trade groups are calling on the UK and the EU to work towards net zero emissions in tandem. Trade groups state that linkages and cooperation are needed to preserve the current system functioning and enable the evolution of future systems. Specific focus was placed on the benefits of efficient and cost-effective trading over interconnectors and the importance of continued collaboration.
2 June, 2020 – The UK has unveiled plans for a country-wide emissions trading scheme to replace the European Union’s version. This new scheme would increase the emissions cap by 5% as compared to the current EU system, with further amendments predicted in future to align the cap with the net zero emissions target. The new scheme aims to have enough similarities to ensure a seamless transition after Brexit.
2 June, 2020 – May was the UK’s “greenest” month since the Industrial Revolution, running without coal-fired electricity for a full calendar month. Wind and solar made 28% of May’s energy mix and gas contributed 30%. The collapse in energy demand due to the coronavirus lockdown, as well as the unseasonably sunny weather, contributed to this dramatic change in the energy mix.
2 June, 2020 – The UK Government has refused planning permission for Vattenfall’s up to 340MW offshore wind farm due to potential impacts on commercial shipping routes. This expansion was thought to be an important development for the local area and the road to net zero. To achieve the 40GW capacity by 2030 target, new projects will need to be progressed.
1 June, 2020 – More than 200 top UK firms and investors, including Asda and Siemens, have signed a letter calling on the government to deliver a green recovery plan. The key proposals include driving investment in low carbon innovation, focusing support on environmental sectors and ensuring bailout cash is well aligned with climate goals.
28 May, 2020 – The UK Secretary for BEIS, Alok Sharma, has approved a 350MW solar farm in Kent, which will generate enough energy to power 91,000 homes and reduce carbon emissions by 68,000 tonnes annually. The solar farm will also include energy storage and will significantly contribute to the net-zero agenda.
28 May, 2020 – National Grid and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) are exploring using surplus wind energy to heat Scottish homes to prevent wind curtailment. There are currently 380,000 homes in Scotland that could benefit from electric heating solutions such as ground source heat pumps. Interested in ground source heat? Contact us to see if it’s the right option for your site.
27 May, 2020 – Due to the coronavirus pandemic, global energy investment is predicted to fall by 20%, according to the International Energy Agency. The IEA also warns that fossil fuels are likely to rebound following the crisis, leading to a spike in carbon emissions. The plunge in investment also means the loss of jobs and economic opportunities, as well as a loss of energy supply that may be needed urgently in future.
27 May, 2020 – COP26 has been further postponed to November 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic having placed restrictions on events and public gatherings. The delay is notable due to the US elections scheduled for later this year, which would either enable Trump to fully withdraw from the Paris Agreement or allow Biden to rejoin the agreement. Further, the UK has yet to unveil a clear roadmap to net-zero; this additional time should allow the UK to lead the way with a green recovery.
26 May, 2020 – NextEnergy Capital has secured £100m debt financing with Santander to built two subsidy-free solar plants. Llanwern solar farm in Wales will be the largest subsidy-free plant, as well as the largest solar farm in the UK to date. The intention is to move the two farms to a new subsidy-free private fund, which will target new-build solar projects in the UK.
25 May, 2020 – On 23 May, the carbon intensity of the grid fell to a record low of 61 gCO2/kWh due to increased solar and wind generation. The lowest grid carbon moment reported on the 23rd was as low as 33 gCO2/kWh. As lifestyles shift and demand patterns change, we hope the grid continues to decarbonise at a fast rate.
22 May, 2020 – According to a report by RenewableUK, the UK could source 76% of its power demand from renewables by 2050. Overall wind capacity could grow by 66 GW by 2030 to provide more than half of the UK’s power demand. With a large renewable capacity, the UK could also produce hydrogen using renewables, helping hydrogen become competitive quickly and helping it decarbonise the grid.
22 May, 2020 – Hundreds of renewable energy projects may be asked to turn off this bank holiday weekend to avoid overloading the grid, as electricity demand in the UK plummets to new lows. Sunny weather is expected to generate more electricity than needed, threatening to overwhelm the energy system. Small wind turbines and solar installations, therefore, will be paid to stop generating by a new Nation Grid scheme.
20 May, 2020 – National Grid has launched a new signal for wind generators, providing live data on the potential maximum power output of wind farms while comparing the data to actual output. National Grid can then calculate the response and reserve capability held by each wind generator, helping boost the potential for involvement in real-time frequency response.
20 May, 2020 – The UK Government has published its Capacity Market response, with plans to reduce the minimum capacity threshold for participating generators from 2MW to 1MW. Other changes include reporting and verification mechanisms for the introduction of carbon dioxide emission limits in the Capacity Market. These, alongside the other changes, will help cutting-edge clean technologies compete.
19 May, 2020 – Analysts, economists and environmentalists argue that renewable energy should help power a green economic recovery following the coronavirus lockdown. After the last financial crisis, the UK’s green economy supported tens of thousands of jobs and helped contribute to fiscal growth. The Social Market Foundation predicts that clean energy could provide 1.4 million new jobs with little risk, as renewable energy technology costs plummet.
15 May, 2020 – After the lockdown, London has plans to turn itself into one of the largest car-free zones in any capital city. Places like Waterloo Bridge and London Bridge will be restricted to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. The Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emission Zone will be reintroduced on 18 May, with propositions to increase the charge and hours of operation.
15 May, 2020 – Edinburgh-based Flexitricity will optimise revenue and help balance supply and demand for Europe’s largest battery. The lithium-ion battery storage site will be monitored from Flexitricity’s 24/7 control room and Flexitricity will dynamically move the asset between different markets. Investment in batteries will help decarbonise the grid and transition to a renewables-led electricity market.
13 May, 2020 – Scottish Power has unveiled plans to repower Scotland’s oldest windfarm as part of a £150m scheme to deliver 100,000 homes with green electricity in central Scotland. This windfarm is expected to create 600 jobs at its peak and 280 long-term jobs. Similarly, SSE and Equinor have plans to use the Port of Tyne for the world’s largest offshore wind development, creating 200 permanent jobs. These projects, alongside others, will help boost the economy when the pandemic ends.
13 May, 2020 – Due to the impact of coronavirus, the UK government is seeking views on a proposal to defer raises to electricity suppliers’ obligations under CfD rules. Owing to the decrease in electricity demand and higher payments to CfD generators because of lower wholesale electricity prices, suppliers would have faced an unexpected increase in their obligations. BEIS later extended the closing date for the fourth CfD consultation by a week to ensure interested parties have ample time to respond.
13 May, 2020 – A report by the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute suggests the CCS technologies must form a key part of delivering net-zero emissions by 2050. CCS will help reduce emissions in hard-to-abate industrial sectors and help decarbonise hydrogen production. The institute predicts that more than 2,000 CCS facilities will be needed by 2050, a large increase compared to the 19 large-scale facilities that are currently operating.
12 May, 2020 – The Flexibility in Great Britain project, led by the Carbon Trust and Imperial College London, will investigate how flexibility in the heat and power sectors can reduce consumers’ costs and explore how an integrated flexible system can be delivered. Findings will be published in 2021 and will inform the rapid transition towards net zero and low emission transport options through new flexibility. The project consortium includes organisations like EDF Energy and the Greater London Authority, as well as the engagement with BEIS and the CCC.
11 May, 2020 – According to research by Longevity Intelligence, the average UK employee could emit 28% fewer carbon emissions through continuing remote working. Research states that office occupancy will decrease by roughly 50% due to the prolongation of home working to ensure employees’ safety. We hope this helps some businesses achieve net zero at a quicker rate. Does your business still have offices? Why not reach net zero emissions through onsite renewables? Contact us for more information.
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