The Informer

This week's headlines: environmental groups join forces to lobby Chancellor to dramatically increase climate change spending; the UK’s offshore wind capacity could increase by more than 2.8GW through extensions to existing sites; and less than 1% of the UK’s electricity came from coal in the second quarter of the year.

  • Chancellor urged to double funding to tackle climate change

    Government spending to tackle climate change needs to more than double over the next three years, according to the UK’s leading environmental groups.

    In a letter to the new Chancellor Sajid Javid ahead of his setting out of his spending priorities on Wednesday, groups including Greenpeace and Oxfam urged more support for low carbon energy and increased funding for public transport infrastructure.

    Their costed roadmap says spending needs to rise from £17bn a year currently to at least £42bn.

    Meanwhile the UK Government’s outgoing chief environmental scientist has warned that the general public has “little idea” of the changes that will need to be made to daily lives in order to hit the UK’s net zero target.

    Professor Sir Iain Boyd, who is leaving his post as Chief Scientific Advisor at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) after seven years, said that people would have to stop eating meat-dominated diets, use modes of transport which pollute less and curb their excess clothes buying habits.

    Boyd called for the creation of a net-zero government department and for taxation to be reformed to reward low-carbon lifestyles.

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  • Offshore wind extensions get green light

    The Crown Estate has granted seven offshore wind farms permission to develop plans to increase their capacity by a combined 2.85GW after completing wildlife impact assessments.

    Will Apps, Head of Energy Development at The Crown Estate, said: “Project extensions offer an efficient opportunity to unlock almost a 10% increase in the UK offshore wind portfolio, supporting the continued growth of the development pipeline and demonstrating continued strong market appetite for new projects in UK waters.”

    The project developers will now continue their application process through the planning system.

    The seven wind farms are: Dudgeon, Galloper, Greater Gabbard, Gwynt y Môr, Rampion, Sheringham Shoal and Thanet.

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  • Johnson Challenged to match rhetoric on battery pledge

    A group of seven energy industry organisations have called on the Prime Minister to match his “green rhetoric” with action to encourage more battery storage and flexible generation.

    “The government must set clearer targets and a roadmap for reform of our electricity system and show greater urgency in putting in place the framework for an open market in flexible generation,” according to an open letter in The Guardian newspaper. Signatories to the letter included Nina Skorupska, Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association.

    Their letter came as Gresham House, the investment fund listed on the London stock market, bought a 5% stake in battery project developer Noriker Power.

    Gresham House Chairman John Leggate said the recent large-scale black-out demonstrated the need for more grid-scale batteries.

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  • Coal hits record low as phase-out continues

    Just 0.7% of the UK’s electricity was generated by burning coal between April and June, according to the latest official figures.

    The amount of coal-fired power is down 63% year-on-year, with Great Britain having now gone more than 3,000 hours without using coal for electricity so far this year, nearly five times more than during the whole of 2017.

    In contrast, renewable generation jumped by 12% in the second quarter, boosted by the opening of the 84-turbine Beatrice offshore wind farm.

    A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, said: “Coal-generated energy will soon be a distant memory on our path to becoming a net zero emissions economy."

    “This new record low is a result of our world leading low-carbon energy industry, which provided more than half of our energy last year and continues to go from strength to strength, as we aim to end our contribution to climate change entirely by 2050.”

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  • £390m funding push to help industry slash emissions

    Converting a gin distillery on Orkney to run on hydrogen instead of liquified petroleum gas is one of the projects which will share £390 million from low-carbon technologies funding announced by the UK's Governments.

    The Clean Steel Fund will use £250m to support the iron and steel industry – which is responsible for 15% of the UK’s industrial emissions – while £100m will be invested into hydrogen projects and a further £40m through the Hydrogen & Fuel Switching Innovation Fund.

    Among the other winners, the Dolphyn project will mount electrolysers on floating wind turbines so it can use renewable energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

    Twenty companies will share the £40m funding, with further cash available for the best of them to move towards commercialisation.

    Climate Change Minister Lord Duncan said: “Developing hydrogen technology has the potential to not only reduce emissions from industry, but could also help us seize the opportunities of the global shift to cleaner economies – with the prize of up two million jobs and £170 billion of annual exports by 2030.”

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