UK to cut 78% of emissions by 2035
Unsurprisingly the weekend papers had plenty to say this week as the UK announced it will cut emissions by a world-leading 78% by 2035, which means adopting the Climate Change Committee’s recommended Sixth Carbon Budget in full (including emissions from aviation and shipping), and President Joe Biden hosted 40 leaders at a virtual summit.
The Guardian’s Environment Correspondent, Fiona Harvey, asked the question “Which country has made the biggest climate commitment?” pointing out that China has yet to submit a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the UN, finishing with the all-important question, ‘who has the best policies to meet their targets?’
Switch to the Sunday Times where in print Ben Spencer’s article was named ‘Get set for the Great British race to net zero.’ He looked at the ‘rise of renewables’; ‘warming to hydrogen’; ‘motoring makeover’; ‘fair air fares’; ‘plough a new furrow’; and finished on ‘The tricky bits’ shipping; manufacturing (particularly of steel and cement); and CCS.
Jillian Ambrose in The Observer homed in on ‘Green – or envious? The winners and losers in Britain’s climate change plan’ citing battery storage; green home experts; recycling plants; and carbon capture as the winners; and the North Sea; crude refineries; airlines and nuclear power plants as the losers. In the ‘green home experts’ section, she highlighted a report by the Green Alliance thinktank which estimates that all the UK’s 29 million homes will need at least some work to make the grade in a carbon-neutral future – but this would create 190,000 jobs, save £7.5bn a year on energy bills and ease pressure on the NHS by preventing illness. So, something of a win-win situation – we just have to grit our teeth and get on with it!
Offshore wind planning: Encouraging news from Kwasi Kwarteng
BEIS secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has told the offshore wind industry the UK Government is evaluating changes to the current planning regime to de-risk the consenting process. As reNEWS reports, he made the comments during last Thursday’s Scottish Renewables’ Offshore Wind 2021 conference, when asked about recent delays which have hit projects in the UK.
“You’re right to raise planning concerns because this is something which could, and I stress could, hit progress,” the minister told delegates, adding: “I am working very closely with colleagues to see if we can quicken it [the consenting process].”
Congratulations to O2 and the Orbital team
The world’s most powerful tidal turbine has made it safely to Orkney waters… Congratulations to all the Orbital Marine Power team. Here’s looking forward to the next stage in their exciting journey.
The BBC website reminds us that the 680-tonne Orbital O2, which is 72m (236 ft) long, was assembled at the Port of Dundee over the past 18 months. It will be anchored close to Orkney where it will produce enough electricity to power 2,000 homes; and enables us to catch a video of it in preparation for launch and then neatly sitting on its barge that took it home to Orkney. Twitter shows us the turbine safely in home waters.
— Orbital Marine Power (@Orbitalmarine) April 24, 2021
Energy storage – UK reaches a GW and just look at the pipeline!
The UK reached a gigawatt of battery storage deployments in the second quarter of 2020 and the industry has 14.9GW in its development pipeline including 1.8GW of ready-to-build projects and 6.9GW with planning approvals in place.
Geothermal progress at the Eden Project
A drilling rig is due to arrive this week at the Eden Project in Cornwall to bore almost three miles down into the granite crust in search of “hot rocks” that will be used to warm the attraction’s biomes and other buildings.
The first lorries carrying a 450-tonne, 55-metre-high drilling rig will arrive on the outer edge of the Eden Project site. The first phase of drilling is expected to take five months and aims to generate heat to warm Eden’s Rainforest and Mediterranean biomes, offices, kitchens and greenhouses.
Then it will be time to move onto the second phase for heating the local area and to allow the generation of electricity from the hot water. Successful completion of the second phase will mean that the project will generate enough renewable energy for Eden to become carbon negative by 2023.
Research has shown that when geothermal energy is developed, it will be capable of providing around 20 per cent of the UK’s current electricity demand plus a vast amount of heating. In Germany the industry has created more than 22,000 skilled jobs and added €13.3 billion to the German economy since 2000. The use of geothermal energy reduced the country’s emissions by more than 1.7 Mt CO2 equivalent in 2017.
We’ll be inviting the Eden Geothermal Project to give an update in the All-Energy/Dcarbonise conference in August.