Renew On Line (UK) 51

Extracts from NATTA's journal
, issue 151 Sept-Oct 2004

   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1.Wind power- problems  offshore, new co-op

2.Photovoltaic solar - mandatory soon?

3.Funding Wave & Tidal Energy- £50m more

4. Biomass Heat Gap- RCEP report

5. Hydrogen Arrives- on the farm

6. New Energy Policy ? Yes please!

7. UK Energy Research Centre- soon

8.UK Government policy news- Energy Bill Passes but targets cut

9. European news- Bonn was good, Denmark gets better

10. US News- Local wind problems, hydrogen plans

11 Other International news- 40GW of wind now in place.... 

12.   Nuclear news'EU needs nuclear'

6. New Energy Policy ?

A special issue of the influential Energy Policy journal (Vol. 37:No. 17) on ‘Energy policy for a sustainable future’, edited by Catherine Mitchell from Warwick University, includes reactions to the 2003 Energy White Paper, with contributions from many of those who, like her, were involved with the preceding PIU study.

Mitchell says that although the White Paper on Energy was ‘widely applauded for its visionary statement, there have been questions about the extent to which the necessary building blocks are in place to deliver the aspiration. This Special Edition, in a constructive spirit, evaluates the White Paper and sets out its own vision for the future, lessons to be learned and arguments for policy  change.’

Paul Ekins from the PSI argues that, in addition to looking in more detail at the economic costs of different options over a range of times and security, network and infrastructure issues, we also need greater understanding of human behaviour with respect to energy use and of the process of wining social acceptability for new technologies- issues which Brenda Boardman from the Environmental Change Institute, Oxford, then takes up, stressing the need to support sensible consumer choice.  Jim Watson from SPRU follows this up by looking at how micro-generation (domestic micro-CHP) has the potential to enable consumers and customers to become co-providers of energy. But that introduces a new element into macro energy policy, which so far has been dominated by the centralised provision of electricity- the local provision of heat and power under consumer control.  Mitchell summarises the analysis by saying that, to help individuals and businesses make sensible choices like this, we need a  new balance in energy policy ‘between macro and micro technologies; between urban and rural technologies; between electricity, heat producing and energy service technologies; and between large and small developments’. This means expanding the emphasis to a wider range of options- not just those selected as the short term ‘least cost’ carbon-saving options as at present. Rob Gross from Imperial College argues for a longer term approach to innovation policy which has the creation of new options as its goal and adopts a more comprehensive longer term  approach to sustainability. Mitchell says that, instead, at present, the emphasis has been on ‘strong pressure to move to a carbon based policy’  an approach which she and co- author Peter Connor claim ‘would be extremely deleterious for the development of renewables but also very anti-innovatory'’.

There are also papers on nuclear power and supply security. Energy consultant Gordon MacKerron argues that the White Paper didn’t discuss these issues in enough detail.  That was vital since they shaped the future of renewables- if only by default.

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