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Coalition at loggerheads over energy minister’s wind comments

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Energy secretary Ed Davey has rebuked comments made by Conservative energy minister John Hayes, who launched an unprompted attack on wind power in two national newspapers today.

Hayes told The Telegraph and The Daily Mail that onshore wind turbines “peppered” the countryside and that “enough is enough”.

I can’t single-handedly build a new Jerusalem, but I can protect our green and pleasant land”, he added.

We will form our policy in the future on the basis of that, not on a bourgeois Left article of faith based on some academic perspective.”

But Hayes – an outspoken wind critic who replaced Charles Hendry as energy minister in September – has been chastised by Ed Davey. A source close to the Lib Dem energy secretary told The Guardian that Hayes was “not in charge of renewable policies on his own” and therefore “has to follow the coalition agreement which is in favour of renewable energy, and meeting our legal EU targets for 2020”.

The source added that the minister was planning to make his comments in a speech yesterday, before being told to remove them by Davey, who this morning issued a statement with regards to the disagreement.

There has been no change to government policy on renewable energy, as collectively agreed by the coalition cabinet”, he said.

We’ve put in place support to bring on growth in new industries to deploy the technologies needed to diversify our energy mix in the most cost-effective way.

In his attack of the technology, Hayes added that the UK “can no longer have wind turbines imposed on communities”, saying that existing and planned wind farms would be sufficient to meet the UK’s renewables targets.

This comes after a high-profile alliance of charities, co-operatives and organisations, led by The Co-operative and Forum for the Future, published a manifesto last week to help advance community-owned renewable energy in the UK.

The document includes a poll conducted by ICM on behalf of the Co-operative, which revealed that the majority of people – 68% – would support community-based clean energy projects, compared to just 7% who said they wouldn’t.

Bruce Davis, co-founder and managing director of Abundance Generation, an investment platform that allows potential investors to pledge as little as £5 towards projects, took exception to the Hayes’ comments.

John Hayes has allowed personal politics to prejudice policy, on the one subject – energy – where evidence and common sense must be the watchwords”, Davis said.

His words raise serious questions about his ability to be involved in any sort of inquiry into what is the most scrutinised and debated energy technology in the UK – onshore wind.”

He also suggested the creation of an energy policy committee, in order to “treat energy the way we treat money and interest rates and hand over decision making to an independent body of experts who are accountable to parliament for their targets, transparent in the minutes of their discussions and managed for the long term health of the economy – and not allow short term backbench politics to undermine and even prejudice considered ministerial policy development.  The stakes are just too high.”

Figures released by trade association RenewableUK yesterday show that wind power is on track to generate enough energy to power one in 10 homes by 2015 – encouraging statistics that came just days after the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) had announced a so-called licensing round bonanza for the oil and gas industry.

Meanwhile, shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint accused the government of appearing “clueless” when it comes to clean energy.

Onshore wind is the most developed and cheapest source of clean energy”, she added.

If the government tries robbing Peter to pay Paul and cuts support for wind power, it could leave the public with even higher bills.

Hard-pressed families should not be left to foot the bill if the energy minister wants to play politics with good-paying clean energy jobs and Britain’s energy security.”

Further reading:

Wind power experiences boom but policies still lean towards fossil fuels

Manifesto published to accelerate ‘community energy revolution’

Clean British energy in action

UK economy to get £25bn boost through renewables as Lib Dems stand firm

Economy

New Zealand to Switch to Fully Renewable Energy by 2035

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renewable energy policy
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Eviart / https://www.shutterstock.com/g/adrian825

New Zealand’s prime minister-elect Jacinda Ardern is already taking steps towards reducing the country’s carbon footprint. She signed a coalition deal with NZ First in October, aiming to generate 100% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2035.

New Zealand is already one of the greenest countries in the world, sourcing over 80% of its energy for its 4.7 million people from renewable resources like hydroelectric, geothermal and wind. The majority of its electricity comes from hydro-power, which generated 60% of the country’s energy in 2016. Last winter, renewable generation peaked at 93%.

Now, Ardern is taking on the challenge of eliminating New Zealand’s remaining use of fossil fuels. One of the biggest obstacles will be filling in the gap left by hydropower sources during dry conditions. When lake levels drop, the country relies on gas and coal to provide energy. Eliminating fossil fuels will require finding an alternative source to avoid spikes in energy costs during droughts.

Business NZ’s executive director John Carnegie told Bloomberg he believes Ardern needs to balance her goals with affordability, stating, “It’s completely appropriate to have a focus on reducing carbon emissions, but there needs to be an open and transparent public conversation about the policies and how they are delivered.”

The coalition deal outlined a few steps towards achieving this, including investing more in solar, which currently only provides 0.1% of the country’s energy. Ardern’s plans also include switching the electricity grid to renewable energy, investing more funds into rail transport, and switching all government vehicles to green fuel within a decade.

Zero net emissions by 2050

Beyond powering the country’s electricity grid with 100% green energy, Ardern also wants to reach zero net emissions by 2050. This ambitious goal is very much in line with her focus on climate change throughout the course of her campaign. Environmental issues were one of her top priorities from the start, which increased her appeal with young voters and helped her become one of the youngest world leaders at only 37.

Reaching zero net emissions would require overcoming challenging issues like eliminating fossil fuels in vehicles. Ardern hasn’t outlined a plan for reaching this goal, but has suggested creating an independent commission to aid in the transition to a lower carbon economy.

She also set a goal of doubling the number of trees the country plants per year to 100 million, a goal she says is “absolutely achievable” using land that is marginal for farming animals.

Greenpeace New Zealand climate and energy campaigner Amanda Larsson believes that phasing out fossil fuels should be a priority for the new prime minister. She says that in order to reach zero net emissions, Ardern “must prioritize closing down coal, putting a moratorium on new fossil fuel plants, building more wind infrastructure, and opening the playing field for household and community solar.”

A worldwide shift to renewable energy

Addressing climate change is becoming more of a priority around the world and many governments are assessing how they can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and switch to environmentally-friendly energy sources. Sustainable energy is becoming an increasingly profitable industry, giving companies more of an incentive to invest.

Ardern isn’t alone in her climate concerns, as other prominent world leaders like Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron have made renewable energy a focus of their campaigns. She isn’t the first to set ambitious goals, either. Sweden and Norway share New Zealand’s goal of net zero emissions by 2045 and 2030, respectively.

Scotland already sources more than half of its electricity from renewable sources and aims to fully transition by 2020, while France announced plans in September to stop fossil fuel production by 2040. This would make it the first country to do so, and the first to end the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles.

Many parts of the world still rely heavily on coal, but if these countries are successful in phasing out fossil fuels and transitioning to renewable resources, it could serve as a turning point. As other world leaders see that switching to sustainable energy is possible – and profitable – it could be the start of a worldwide shift towards environmentally-friendly energy.

Sources: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-06/green-dream-risks-energy-security-as-kiwis-aim-for-zero-carbon

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-hydrocarbons/france-plans-to-end-oil-and-gas-production-by-2040-idUSKCN1BH1AQ

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Economy

How Going Green Can Save A Company Money

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going green can save company money
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By GOLFX

What is going green?

Going green means to live life in a way that is environmentally friendly for an entire population. It is the conservation of energy, water, and air. Going green means using products and resources that will not contaminate or pollute the air. It means being educated and well informed about the surroundings, and how to best protect them. It means recycling products that may not be biodegradable. Companies, as well as people, that adhere to going green can help to ensure a safer life for humanity.

The first step in going green

There are actually no step by step instructions for going green. The only requirement needed is making the decision to become environmentally conscious. It takes a caring attitude, and a willingness to make the change. It has been found that companies have improved their profit margins by going green. They have saved money on many of the frivolous things they they thought were a necessity. Besides saving money, companies are operating more efficiently than before going green. Companies have become aware of their ecological responsibility by pursuing the knowledge needed to make decisions that would change lifestyles and help sustain the earth’s natural resources for present and future generations.

Making needed changes within the company

After making the decision to go green, there are several things that can be changed in the workplace. A good place to start would be conserving energy used by electrical appliances. First, turning off the computer will save over the long run. Just letting it sleep still uses energy overnight. Turn off all other appliances like coffee maker, or anything that plugs in. Pull the socket from the outlet to stop unnecessary energy loss. Appliances continue to use electricity although they are switched off, and not unplugged. Get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Change to fluorescent light bulbs, and lighting throughout the building. Have any leaks sealed on the premises to avoid the escape of heat or air.

Reducing the common paper waste

paper waste

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Yury Zap

Modern technologies and state of the art equipment, and tools have almost eliminated the use of paper in the office. Instead of sending out newsletters, brochures, written memos and reminders, you can now do all of these and more by technology while saving on the use of paper. Send out digital documents and emails to communicate with staff and other employees. By using this virtual bookkeeping technique, you will save a bundle on paper. When it is necessary to use paper for printing purposes or other services, choose the already recycled paper. It is smartly labeled and easy to find in any office supply store. It is called the Post Consumer Waste paper, or PCW paper. This will show that your company is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. By using PCW paper, everyone helps to save the trees which provides and emits many important nutrients into the atmosphere.

Make money by spreading the word

Companies realize that consumers like to buy, or invest in whatever the latest trend may be. They also cater to companies that are doing great things for the quality of life of all people. People want to know that the companies that they cater to are doing their part for the environment and ecology. By going green, you can tell consumers of your experiences with helping them and communities be eco-friendly. This is a sound public relations technique to bring revenue to your brand. Boost the impact that your company makes on the environment. Go green, save and make money while essentially preserving what is normally taken for granted. The benefits of having a green company are enormous for consumers as well as the companies that engage in the process.

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