Your independent energy adviser
0800 051 5770

UK Leads the Way on Renewable Generation Growth

Climate change talks loom

Despite its unpopularity with the conservative administration, wind energy has been the driving force behind the UK’s rise up the rankings of a global measure for ‘climate-friendly’ countries.

The 34% increase in renewable energy generation, the highest growth amongst the G20 group of countries, combined with the ongoing closure of coal-fired power stations pushed the UK to second place in the rankings.

But whilst many see the coalition having lost its way in the renewable debate and indeed having been outright hostile to onshore wind in particular, the junior partner is looking to right the balance.

The Liberal Democrats 2015 manifesto features a pledge to ban electricity generation from coal and to introduce a “Zero Carbon Britain Bill” as they look to sharpen their green credentials ahead of next year’s general election.

The Lib Dems proposed measures also include:

  • a decarbonisation target for electricity generation,
  • expanded powers for the Green Investment Bank,
  • a reduction in council tax for energy efficient homes,
  • a Nature Bill, setting targets for biodiversity, clean air, clean water and access to green space,
  • a zero waste bill.
  • a Heating and Energy Efficiency Bill and
  • a “Green Transport Bill” (to only allow low emission vehicles on the roads from 2040)

In introducing the manifesto pledges, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey said:

“Everyone knows the Tories have been an obstacle to our greener vision, people have forgotten that Labour simply failed to deliver on these important areas when they were in government.”

Davey, added:

“We believe the best way to cut household energy bills is to cut them permanently and that means cutting energy waste in the home.

“A ten year council tax cut will make action to end your home’s energy waste a no brainer.”

Most observers would suggest that a more diluted version of these pledges would be more likely than the rather totalitarian abolition of personal transport or the wiping out of the nation’s largest source of energy, however the path is being cleared for further increases in the contribution of renewable generation to our energy needs.

Indeed Leo Johnson, a partner in the climate change division of PwC claimed:

“The UK is starting to turn the corner on carbon”

PwC annually measure each nation’s carbon intensity that is a construct of the amount of CO2 emitted as a proportion of GDP.

PwC’s latest annual findings have shown that the UK reduced its own carbon intensity by 4.8% in 2013, significantly greater than the average global level and larger than any other country measured bar Australia (7.2%).

To achieve this against a growing backdrop of scepticism from the senior conservative partner in the coalition is impressive, however unhelpful portents abound with an anonymous senior conservative MP allegedly bizarrely claiming:

“We mustn’t save the planet at the expense of natural landscape”

Indeed Davey, in a speech in advance of the meeting called by Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General to discuss a new global agreement on climate change, has claimed that the governments face a “pivotal moment”.

Davey however believes the UK are well prepared to deliver a constructive agreement saying:

“While the negotiations will undoubtedly be challenging, I judge the prospects of a comprehensive climate change deal to be the best since we first began this journey many decades ago.”

“Our business community has recognised that decarbonisation and securing long-term prosperity go hand in hand, from the savings that can be made through energy efficiency to the growth prospects through the supply chain.

“A strong, vocal and committed network of NGOs, pressure groups and activists have been instrumental in sustaining political will and public acceptance. We must show the rest of Europe and the rest of the world that we speak with one voice on this.”

Critical to any agreement will be both the size of any target emission reduction and the timetable for achievement. Based on 1990 levels European nations have already agreed to cut emissions by 40% by 2030, however governments are facing renewed calls for a fresh reduction basis by virtue of these cuts already having largely been achieved.

Echoing the upbeat sentiment of the ‘next’ stage of climate change management, Leo Hickman, chief adviser on climate change at WWF-UK, said:

“With China and the US making increasingly positive noises, this [DECC] report is further proof that governments around the world are feeling ever more optimistic that a global climate deal can be secured in Paris at the end of 2015. The question now is not whether there will be a deal or not, but what that deal looks like.

“It must deliver the following: a strong legal framework and clear rules; ambitious action that keeps us well below a temperature rise of 2C since preindustrial times; and a central role for equitable financing that ensures vulnerable nations can adapt to a changing climate as well as make the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

Clearly the UK is playing its part in the decarbonisation of the global economy despite, rather than because of the Tory government.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.