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Government announces plans to close coal power stations by 2025: reactions

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The Government has announced plans to close all coal-fired power stations by 2025 and restrict their use by 2023.

Announcing the decision ahead of a major speech this morning which will set out a new direction for energy policy which has energy security at the heart of it and delivers for families and businesses, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd said:

“Energy security comes first and I am determined to ensure that the UK has secure, affordable, and clean energy supplies that hardworking families and businesses can rely on now and in the future.

“We are tackling a legacy of underinvestment and ageing power stations which we need to replace with alternatives that are reliable, good value for money, and help to reduce our emissions. It cannot be satisfactory for an advanced economy like the UK to be relying on polluting, carbon intensive 50-year-old coal-fired power stations.

“Let me be clear: this is not the future. We need to build a new energy infrastructure, fit for the 21st century. Our determination to cut carbon emissions as cost effectively as possible is crystal clear and this step will make us one of the first developed countries to commit to taking coal off our system”.

Vice President Al Gore said: “The decision by Prime Minister David Cameron  to phase out the United Kingdom’s unabated coal power stations by 2025 sets an excellent and inspiring precedent as we head into COP21. With this announcement, the UK is demonstrating the type of leadership that nations around the world must take in order to craft a successful agreement in Paris and solve the climate crisis.

“The UK has become the first major economy to set a clear date to phase out coal, and I am hopeful that others will follow suit as we repower the global economy with the clean energy we need for a sustainable future.”

WWF-UK Chief Executive David Nussbaum said: “Today the UK Government has become the first major economy to announce that it will phase out coal from its power sector. This is particularly significant with only days to go before the negotiations on a new international climate change deal begin in Paris.

“WWF has been calling on the Prime Minister to honour the commitment he made during the election to phase out coal. We are pleased he has       done so – now we look forward to working with the government to build on this commitment.

“By phasing out coal by 2025 and limiting hours to 2023 the government has recognised the serious environmental impacts of dirty coal – and its potential to bust the UK’s climate commitments.”

Ben Goldsmith, Co-Chair of the Conservative Environment Network and CEO of Menhaden Capital, said:  “The first country to have used coal for electricity, since 1882, will become the first major country to completely phase it out. This sends an incredibly strong signal to other countries before the Paris climate negotiations, especially those with similarly old and unreliable coal plants. We need to systematically phase out coal globally and a British conservative government is leading the way. This would not have been possible under Corbyn’s Labour Party, who are still wedded to the coal industry.”

According to E3G, as of mid-2016, employment in coal mining and power generation will be close to 3,500 in total, just 10% of the 35,000 jobs in the UK’s wind, wave and tidal sectors.

Nick Mabey, CEO of E3G said: “The UK has recognised the necessity of the end of coal and made it a reality, increasing the political momentum ahead of the Paris summit. Acting to end coal can help the UK recover credibility as a location for investment in clean technology. But if coal is simply replaced by gas the UK will continue its addiction to fossil fuels and is in danger of being left behind in the global clean tech race.

“In 2014, coal power stations produced 17% of all the UK’s CO2 emissions.  And around 80% of the UK’s coal is imported, and 40% of that is from Russia. Coal use threatens the two-degree carbon budget.”

Ilmi Granoff, Senior Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute said: “The UK has shown clarity of vision in committing to phase out coal power generation by 2025. Orienting its power sector to low-carbon energy would have domestic benefits to air and climate. But just as importantly the coal phase out will also have global impacts. It should pave the way for similar commitments from other developed countries. The UK is now also well positioned to help enable developing countries to leapfrog to clean energy.”

Friends of the Earth’s senior energy campaigner Simon Bullock said: “Amber Rudd is certainly taking UK energy policy in a new direction: unfortunately it’s backwards to the 20th century.

“Phasing out coal – if that’s what’s being suggested – is essential for the climate. But switching from coal to gas is like an alcoholic switching from two bottles of whisky a day to two bottles of port. The UK Government’s ongoing addiction to fossil fuels sends a terrible signal to crucial Paris climate talks, starting in a fortnight.”

 

Energy

7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption

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Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/dolgachov

Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.

This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?

Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.

New Technologies to Watch

These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:

  1. Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
  2. Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
  3. New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
  4. Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
  5. Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
  6. The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
  7. Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.

Making the Investment

All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.

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Energy

Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis

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Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/nivens

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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