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Businesses can bridge UK electricity capacity gap by 2020 says new report

Manufacturing sites, hospitals and retail stores could provide the equivalent electricity supply of 6 new power stations and address the UK's electricity capacity concerns, says a new report from the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) during July.

The new report says that up to 16% of the UK's peak electricity requirement, or 9.8 gigawatts, could be provided by businesses through flexing their electricity demand and making better use of onsite generation.

One part of the solution is to engage energy users to manage their energy use and onsite generation to help the electricity system in return for payments, known as demand side response. By turning down demand instead of increasing supply, and by employing more local, efficient generation, demand-side response reduces emissions and helps the UK meet its carbon targets.

This potential for demand-side response would represent a nearly 10-fold increase and shows the scale of support that business energy customers could provide to help fill the gap in keeping the nation's electricity supply and demand in balance.

As old power stations shut down and new renewable generation like wind and solar are not always available (until better electricity storage technologies are developed) the ability for the nation's electricity supply industry to keep the lights on by 2020 is a cause for concern, but the report shows there are solutions.

The full from ADE report can be downloaded here: Bringing Energy Together - ADE report (external link to pdf, opens in new window)

July 2016

Whitehall changes on energy and the environment

Following the change of Prime Minister from David Cameron to Theresa May, the government has dissolved DECC and merged the department with BIS to create an expanded department of business, energy and industrial strategy. A DECC spokesperson was reported as saying the new department would retain all of DECC's responsibilities, including the climate change portfolio.

Greg Clark had been appointed as business, energy and industrial strategy secretary. The new Secretary of State at Defra is Andrea Leadsom.

July 2016

Facebook post 28th May 2016

There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own. Nobody. You built a factory out there - good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory...

Now look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea - God bless! Keep a hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.

Elizabeth Warren (American academic and politician)

May 2016

British public says renewables offer huge economic benefits - and wants more

New official Government statistics published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show that the British public believes that renewable energy provides tangible economic benefits - and they want clean energy projects built in their area.

The Public Attitudes Tracking from DECC shows that 70% of people see clear economic benefits to the UK from renewable energy. The survey also showed that 56% would be happy with a large-scale project in their local area.

Hugh McNeal, Chief Executive of renewable energy trade association RenewableUK, said: "It's great that the British public sees how renewable energy is helping to grow the UK economy. Renewables are delivering investment and jobs throughout our country".

These surveys of public attitudes are carried out annually (since 2012). Support for renewable energy has been consistently high since 2012 at around 75-80%. This pattern has continued in 2016 with 81% expressing support for the use of renewables with support lowest amongst those aged 65+ (74%).

Opposition to renewables was very low at 4%, with only 2% strongly opposed.

For 2016 an additional question was asked about people's opinion on three statements about renewable energy. Nearly eight in ten agreed that renewable energy developments should provide direct benefits to the communities in which they are located (77%), whilst seven in ten (70%) agreed that renewable industries and developments provide economic benefits to the UK.

Just over half said they would be happy to have a large scale renewable development in their own area (56%).

The DECC Public Attitudes Tracking survey (wave 17) can be found at www.gov.uk/government/statistics/public-attitudes-tracking-survey-wave-17.

May 2016

Other relevant news websites

  • GOV.UK - news announcements from all Government Departments

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Editorial note

The views expressed on this website are not necessarily the views and opinions held by the editor. For further information about 'our south west' including sponsorship policy and archived pages, visit the about OSW page.

Contact details

Managing Editor: Phil Harding*
*(Phil is also Chairman of Saltford Environment Group)

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1. Management of oursouthwest. From 1999 - 2010 this website was originally managed by Phil Harding whilst a Senior Policy Adviser (climate change, resource efficiency and sustainable development) at the Government Office for the South West (GOSW) in Bristol (UK). GOSW closed in 2011 but this site continues to be managed by Phil Harding on a freelance not-for-profit basis.

2. Archived material. For ease of reference, some of the key pages and papers that were on this website up until 2011/12 are listed on the About OSW page. The British Library holds archived copies of the some of the original content of the www.oursouthwest.com website in its early (and now dated) format from 2008 to 2013 on its website at www.webarchive.org.uk/ukwa/target/9175112/source/alpha.

This website is managed by Phil Harding and supported by Cotswold Energy & Environmental Management Group (on behalf of South West Energy & Environmental Management Groups).

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