The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has called for greater emphasis on progressing carbon capture and storage (CCS) and building a UK bioenergy sector in the next 15 years if the UK is to meet its targets for decarbonising its energy system in the most cost effective way.
The call was made by Chief Executive Dr David Clarke who gave evidence to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee’s inquiry into Setting the Fifth Carbon Budget yesterday (Wednesday 16 March).
Dr Clarke said: “We support the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendations and they are an important step on the pathway to 2050 but any delays in implementing key technologies will inevitably lead to cost increases.
“The 5th Carbon Budget recognises the significance of heat and transport as well as power generation but we need to get CCS back on track, we need to get nuclear moving and there needs to be more emphasis on bioenergy.”
He said that delays in implementing CCS or new nuclear would lead to extra efforts and costs being needed in early decarbonisation of the heat sector.
Long term policies and signals were also needed to encourage development of sustainably grown biomass crops in the UK.
“Short rotation forestry used for biomass has a growing time of at least 10 years so if we want a meaningful supply of UK sources crops by 2030 we need policy decisions soon that will encourage farmers to start planting ,” he said.
In its written response the ETI said it agrees with the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) advice on the level of the Fifth Carbon Budget and points out that its own analysis of the most cost effective pathway for a UK low carbon energy transition, points to a 2030 level of UK emissions very similar to that recommended by the CCC in its advice to the government.
However, the ETI’s own whole energy system analysis highlights some areas that might want to be considered to complement the advice suggested by the CCC.
- A stronger emphasis on the importance of progress in CCS before 2030 – the CCC’s advice implies that the importance of CCS mainly relates to achieving the UK’s 2050 targets. ETI analysis also shows that it is a technology vitally important for minimising costs and risks associated with the UK’s decarbonisation pathway even in the period before 2030. The success or failure to deploy CCS in the UK will have a fundamental influence on the decisions and costs around long-term infrastructure and energy system architecture, so ETI feels it is vital (and prudent) to achieve greater clarity on this before 2030. ETI would advise the government that it should give priority and emphasis to promoting commercial scale deployment of CCS before 2030 as a cost reduction demonstration measure, as recommended in a recent submission to the Energy and Climate Change select committee.
- A stronger emphasis on building a UK bioenergy sector in the period to 2030 – ETI analysis points to the importance of bioenergy as one of the two (alongside CCS) most important system-wide opportunities to reduce CO2 emissions cost-effectively. ETI modelling highlights Bioenergy could provide up to 10% of the UK’s primary energy needs by 2050, with the majority of this sourced domestically thereby substantially reducing the costs of meeting carbon targets and significantly growing the agricultural bio-crop industry in the UK. ETI would advise the government to give the development of the UK bioenergy sector a greater emphasis.
- A measured approach to the decarbonisation of transport, particularly light transport pre-2030 – the ETI agrees with the CCC’s advice around the need to continue efficiency improvement in vehicles by shifting towards ultra-low emission (e.g. electric and plug in hybrid) vehicles. ETI would caution that a rush to decarbonise transport, particularly light transport, could risk imposing significantly higher costs on UK consumers and businesses.
Details of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee’s Inquiry can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/energy-and-climate-change-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/setting-fifth-carbon-budget/
The ETI response can be found at http://www.eti.co.uk/eti-submission-to-the-ecc-committee-inquiry-on-setting-the-5th-carbon-budget-2/
Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?
Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?
Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.
Is Biofuel Green?
One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.
Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?
Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.
Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.
Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.
Benefits Of Biomass
The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.
Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.
7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees
As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.
After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:
One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.
While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.
Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies
Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.
The Ability To Work Remotely
It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.
Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.
Unlimited Time Off
This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.
A Full Pantry
Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.
Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!