I have mentioned beforei the regular conferences organised by Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum (“WEET”). My email inbox has been buzzing with messages about their activities. There is certainly no shortage of “green” subjects on which to hold conferences, and no shortage of people to talk at them (and to attend them, especially from the public sector). Here is a short summary of what’s coming up at WEET, so that readers can see how much time and effort (and their money) is being invested in all this stuff.
Next steps for decarbonising UK heat and heat networks
We’ve just missed this one – mea culpa. It was held on 13th January 2022, and was co-chaired by the Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Energy Security, and
Dr Alan Whitehead MP, Shadow Minister for Energy and the Green New Deal. You might have thought that the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Energy Security might have other things to talk about just now, but it seems not.
Lead speakers were David Capper, Director at the Clean Heat Directorate, BEIS; and Cathryn Scott, Director, Enforcement and Emerging Issues, Ofgem.
David Capper gets out and about. On 20th May 2021 he spoke at the Utility Week Future of Heat Conferenceii about the UK’s Heat & Buildings Strategy, one aspect of which is growing the UK heat pump market by 20 fold to support 600,000 installations per year by 2028, and another is enabling strategic decisions on the future of UK heating by the middle of the decade. Last week’s conference discussed these things too, and it seems they aren’t going to let this agenda die lightly.
Cathryn Scott’s job involves things like ordering energy suppliers to pay overdue Renewables Obligations and Feed-in Tariffs. I became quite nostalgic just now looking at a page published on 2nd October 2020 on Ofgem’s websiteiii. Ah, those heady days when the energy suppliers she was chasing for money still existed and were just seven among dozens and dozens of UK retail energy suppliers. Still, the writing was on the wall with 24 such companies going bust or leaving the market even in 2019. Times have changed pretty quickly, but I imagine Cathryn’s department is still seeking overdue payments.
Another speaker is a representative of Heat Trustiv “launched in November 2015 as an independent, non-profit consumer champion for heat networks that holds the industry to account for the benefit of everyone involved.” 2015 seems to have been a big year for starting up such organisations. One might have thought these developments were on the back of some Government initiative offering financial opportunities, but instead it was the year when Cameron’s Conservative Party won the general election, and the coalition with the Liberal Democrats ended. That then resulted in headlines such as this: “UK Government abandons zero carbon buildings pledges”. That articlev commenced:
The UK Government has today announced that it is to abandon its plans to introduce zero carbon buildings, including homes in 2016 and zero carbon commercial buildings in 2019. As part of a range of planning measures officially announced by the Treasury, it has been confirmed that the government ‘does not intend to proceed with the zero carbon Allowable Solutions carbon offsetting scheme, or the proposed 2016 increase in on-site energy efficiency standards’. Officials from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) have also separately confirmed that the zero carbon policy for non-domestic buildings will also be discarded as part of the new changes. The move has already been heavily criticised by the UK Green Building Council and senior figures in the construction sector, who are dismayed at the move by a Government that once claimed it was to be the UK’s ‘greenest ever’.
Apart from beginning to realise just how many of these expensive and bureaucratic schemes there have been over the years, it’s also interesting to note how, although the governing party remains the same, two Prime Ministers later and policy in this area looks very different.
I couldn’t work out why David Pilling of Ombudsman Services was there, but he spoke under the heading of “Priorities for boosting consumer protection – modernising property management responsibilities, consumer rights, and the fair distribution of district heating costs”. Fair distribution of heating costs is looking like an increasingly important question at the moment!
One of the things that never ceases to amaze me about the net zero agenda, which in large part spawns all these conferences, is the awareness of the difficulties, yet the willingness to plough ahead regardless. For instance, this conference had sections under specific headings such as “The business case for heat network expansion and addressing barriers to infrastructure delivery, material costs, and conventional heat grid integration”. Which implicitly carries with it an acknowledgement that there are barriers to infrastructure delivery, and that there are material costs.
Or again, this section of the conference:”Next steps for heat market framework design – standardising entry rules, supporting tariff and stakeholder competition, and boosting attractiveness for investor engagement”. Again, an implicit appreciation that this regime, without support, will not generate tariff and stakeholder competition, nor will it be attractive for investors.
Under “key areas for discussion” we see the following policy aims:
“creating a market that attracts investment and engagement” and “how a self-reliant market can be established”. Also, “aims to incentivise low-carbon heating systems” and “funding to support all new heating systems in UK homes from 2035 to be low carbon”. Under “further guidance” we see “supporting industry stakeholders on project design”; “reducing barriers to wider energy system integration” and “how funding initiatives can best leverage public and private capital”.
Then: “addressing challenges and considering options for: ensuring the price of heat pumps is equal to fossil fuel boilers by 2030” and “reducing obstacles to scaling up hydrogen, including heat grid modernisation to facilitate hydrogen supply”.
So, lots of understanding about costs and obstacles, but no understanding that all this might not be such a good idea. Even when we learn that “Ofgem has been appointed as the heat networks regulator to protect consumers, enforce decarbonisation rules and licence heat network developers” and “UK Government announces funding for five new heat networks as part of the Heat Networks Investment Project” [more costs]. Not even this wakes them up: “the rise in wholesale gas and electricity costs has presented financial challenges to providers, and potentially customers, this winter, with policy action to address the fallout including: Ofgem’s appointment of E.ON to take over collapsed energy providers, with even more providers having gone bust, posing challenges for the industry that may well require energy administrators to assist or intervene”.
Despite it all, it’s still full steam ahead (or should that be, progress if and when the wind blows?).
The list of attendees for whom places have been reserved is a wonder to behold, though I haven’t worked out why the Coal Authority is on the list.
Next steps for food security in the UK
Sorry about the short notice. This one is to be held on 20th January 2022, so if you wish to attend (online) you’ll have to be quick. I won’t go through the list of speakers this time. Suffice to say, our old friend Lord Deben will be there, and one of the co-chairs will be Baroness Hayman of Ullock, briefly MP for the constituency in which I reside, after winning the 2015 election with a majority of 4,686, seeing it reduced to a majority of 3,925 in 2017, and then in 2019 losing it to the Conservatives (for only the second time in a century) who now have a majority of 4,176. During much of this period, Jeremy Corbyn was leader of the Labour Party and Sue Hayman (as she then was) served as a shadow minister and latterly as Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Having been turfed out of Parliament by an ungrateful electorate, she was returned there courtesy of Jezza nominating her to the House of Lords, where she now has a new gig as Baroness Hayman of Ullock (and apparently occasional co-chair of conferences).
Despite my sarcasm, UK food security is obviously of importance, and I reckon this is the most useful of the conferences I mention here. Nevertheless, it is sadly warped by an obsession with climate change and the net zero agenda. Two of the sessions expressly introduce climate change and a third has as the keynote speaker the Policy Director of Green Alliance. “Building sector resilience”includes a reference to climate change, while the “supply chain” section expressly references “net-zero ambitions”. The “relevant developments” section really goes for it, since these people obviously think climate change and net zero are the most relevant factors of all. This section includes “Achieving Net-Zero: Farming’s 2040 Goal – NFU plans”; “the IPCC Special Report on global warming”; and “COP26 Special Report on Climate Change and Health – the WHO report” .
Places have been reserved for another impressive list of attendees, but I can’t see anyone from the Coal Authority at this one.
The UK renewable energy supply chain
Short notice again, I’m afraid, with this one taking place on 25th January 2022. Among the speakers once more is a representative from Burges Salmon, solicitors (who I’ve just read are among WEET’s core sponsors), and lots of people who you would expect to see. Plus someone from Greenbackers Investment Capital (“Greenbackers is all about catalyzing the investment needed to build a more sustainable society. By connecting disruptive technology providers to our network of climate focused investors, we’d like to think we’re helping to saving [sic] the planet one deal at a time.”).vi
There’s a section on latest thinking for contracts for difference, and “policy options for supply chain support beyond UK wind and structuring incentives across the renewables sector”. Thus, despite all the talk about how cheap renewables are, we still see the debate focused on subsidies such as CfDs and “support” and “incentives”. There’s also a section which talks about “tackling challenges”, so they do recognise that challenges exist, but the show rolls on. There’s a section on, inter alia, “supply chain resilience”, “remaining competitive” and “investment appeal”, so again there is an appreciation that this stuff isn’t easy, but money helps. Regrettably the last section includes the words “international leadership”, which I always find to be worrying, especially in any area where politicians have been involved.
Electricity markets in the UK
This one is scheduled to take place on 28th February 2022, and has the sub-heading “Next steps for the Capacity Market, the Contracts for Difference regime, and supporting low-carbon electricity generation”. The 9.35am session looks more than a little challenging, so it’s a surprise to see only 55 minutes devoted to this: “Priorities for Capacity Market reform – developing a market that can deliver reliable, cost-effective, decarbonised power supplies”. Perhaps that session should have been headed “Mission Impossible”.
Still, at least it gets half an hour more than “The outlook for market reform – UK capacity and key issues for energy security”. Given current issues, I might have thought this is a subject deserving of a little more than 25 minutes.
This bit strikes me as quite sinister: “non-generation technologies – demand-side response and wider role, smart energy business models, and consumer costs”. Any mention of demand-side response and smart energy makes me think of plans to switch things off when there isn’t enough electricity to go round.
Green skills, apprenticeships, and employment
This one will take place on 10th March 2022. From the agenda I learn that there is a Deputy Director for Green Finance, Jobs and Investment for Net Zero, at BEIS and that we have a Green Jobs Taskforce, so that’s good. The latter was launched on 12th November 2020, and has already produced a report. From this I discover that:
BloombergNEF estimates the 1.5 degrees commitment would require around $64 trillion global investment in power and grid infrastructure, and between $13 trillion and $66 trillion in hydrogen manufacturing, transport, and storage.
Which sounds like a lot of money for something which is supposed to cost less than doing nothing. Also:
The IEA considers that the transition will likely involve some job losses… and notes that “it will be vital to minimise hardships associated with these disruptions, such as by retraining workers, locating new clean energy facilities in heavily affected areas wherever possible, and providing regional aid”.
So there will be hardships and disruption. It doesn’t seem to provide pause for thought, however. Then there’s this:
According to the Place-based Climate Action Network’s Just Transition Jobs Tracker, one in five jobs in the UK (approximately 6.3 million workers) will require skills which may experience demand growth (approximately 10% of UK jobs) or reduction (approximately 10%) as a result of the transition to net zero. The latter will likely need reskilling, upskilling, or to use their current skills differently.
Here’s an idea – let’s not bother. It would be a lot easier. But no, they are bothering, and that’s why this conference has sessions with headings like: “Supporting businesses, SMEs, and regional labour markets to offer green jobs – funding and investment, facilitating market demand and competitive supply chains, and priorities for regions dependent on high-carbon industries”. Support, funding, investment – none of this going to come cheap.
Next steps for Zero Emission Vehicles in the UK
If you’re really keen, you could attend this one too on the next day, 11th March 2022. There are some big problems to be resolved, with subjects to be addressed such as these: “how supply chain issues around materials and computer chips can be addressed” and “next steps for scaling up electric vehicle and charge point rollout”.
There are some other cracking difficulties here too: “the vehicle market – affordability, consumer engagement, and supporting investment and competitiveness within the UK automotive industry” and “haulage and public transport – key issues for decarbonising heavy goods vehicles and passenger services, as well as ensuring services are not disrupted in the transition to ZEVs”.
As ever, it comes down to this: “what is needed from government and regulation to support the transition to zero emission vehicles”? The short answer, if these things worked for people, would be to let the market rule (I thought that’s what Conservative politicians believed in) and we’d get there in short order without the need for support. But of course, they don’t work for the vast majority of people, so we are to be forced into them by a mixture of the carrot and the stick, it will cost the taxpayer dearly, and at the end of it, we’ll have less satisfactory transport options than we do now. But I couldn’t find that section of the agenda.
Next steps for energy storage in the UK
I suppose there is some logic in this being the next in the series, especially as part of it discusses “coordination with the wider EV rollout” ; it’s due to take place on 29th March 2022. As ever, we see the same sorts of issues being discussed: “expanding capacity – system flexibility, the role of small- and large-scale storage, and the transition to low-carbon energy generation”[the logistical challenge]; “regulatory and whole-system reform” [more reforms required]; “innovation in battery storage, and developing alternative technologies” [yet again, reliance on technologies that don’t exist at anything like the required scale]; “reducing barriers to entry, such as those relating to the network or regulation” [yet more barriers to be removed]; and “policy priorities, access to finance and support for commercialisation” [yet again the need for finance and support – money, money money].
There are definitely some themes developing here!
The European Green Deal and the UK
You get a break before this one takes place on 25th April 2022. Attend it, and you might wonder if Brexit ever happened, as you can be regaled by Jytte Guteland MEP, Lead Climate Negotiator in the European Parliament. Learn about “[t]he evolving European decarbonisation policy landscape” and discover “opportunities for drawing on from the European Green Deal and other international strategies to refine the UK net-zero policy pathway, and help build relationships”.
Another session is to be headed by a senior Parliamentarian and a senior European Parliamentarian, and will cover “Opportunities for collaboration on a political level between the UK and EU”. I’m all in favour of international collaboration, and I wish the frictions between the UK and the EU were resolved. But they aren’t, yet when it comes to committing economic suicide, it seems that we are to hold hands and to jump off the cliff together.
Growing the hydrogen economy in the UK
Finally (for now – these conferences just keep on coming), this one will take place on 27th April 2022. We are told:
It takes place in the context of the UK Hydrogen Strategy, and decarbonisation goals set out in the Sixth Carbon Budget and Net Zero Strategy. Delegates will consider what is needed to develop the supply chain, as well as investment and commercialisation, alongside the practicalities of scaling up long-term supply and supporting increased production, storage, distribution and use, whilst addressing the cost gap between hydrogen and fossil fuels.
The conference will also be an opportunity to discuss a number of key measures due to be released in early 2022 to support deployment and investment including a Hydrogen Sector Development Action Plan; the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund; a UK standard for low carbon hydrogen; and the Low Carbon Hydrogen Supply 2 competition.
More, perhaps, than any of the others, this one talks about the need for support and finance – “support for R&D and commercialisation, integration into the energy mix, role in decarbonisation plans, and achieving the sector’s economic potential” and “developing production, distribution, storage and use, plus business models, strategic planning, scaling up, and addressing the fossil fuels cost gap”.
Perhaps it’s just me. Maybe I’m too negative and cynical. However, all I see here (i.e. with regard to the subject-matter of all these conferences) apart from a lot of gassing, is expense, hassle, difficulties, burdens imposed on hard-pressed taxpayers and consumers, and a system which in every respect will see us with things which work less well than they do now. From expensive, intermittent and unreliable energy, created by acts of industrial-scale vandalism in our wild places; to cars which don’t operate anything like as effectively for most people as those we have now; to homes heated less efficiently, more expensively, and possibly more dangerously than is currently the case; to a nation whose international competitiveness will have been damaged beyond repair. Just what is going on?
“Just what is going on?”
All the difficulties and costs and obstacles to adoption *must* be overcome if we are to ‘save the planet’. If there’s a belief so strong on the upside of the scales, this can easily outweigh anything in the other pan, no matter what. Indeed, if the belief is starry-eyed enough, it’ll all be a serious advantage, in time and after some initial difficulties, *as well as* saving the planet!
LikeLiked by 1 person
1. Next steps for decarbonising UK heat and heat networks:
“Cathryn Scott’s job involves things like ordering energy suppliers to pay overdue Renewables Obligations and Feed-in Tariffs.”
With superb timing, Aunty reports “Council-backed energy firm Together Energy latest to go bust”.
Warrington Borough Council wasted *its* council-tax payers’ money bailing out Bristol City’s council-tax payers’ when Bristol Energy went bust.
Nottingham’s council-tax payers were forced to bear the cost of Robin Hood Energy going tits-up.
2. Next steps for energy storage in the UK
“expanding capacity – system flexibility, the role of small- and large-scale storage …”
The Briefing Note by Dr Keith MacLean of Providence Policy and Grant Wilson and Noah Godfrey of the Energy Informatics Group, Birmingham “NET ZERO -KEEPING THE ENERGY SYSTEM BALANCED” informs in its Executive Summary:
“What looks like an optimal energy mix based solely on levelised costs of energy production could look very different to one based on minimising total system cost. For example, replacing the current daily gas balancing capability of up to 3-4TWh with batteries would cost over £1trillion …” (my bold)
And that’s just daily balancing!
LikeLiked by 2 people
I would like to say “the kids have taken over” but the “adults” in charge (west) have lost the plot driven by climate doom sayer’s
PS – just realised when I say (west) I mean (in the west), nothing to do with Andy West 🙂
see one big news story is
wonder where the power & materials required will come from ?
ohhh – the power seems to be sorted out (maybe) –
“The Blyth manufacturing facility will be built on the 95-acre former site of the town’s power station. The plant will rely on renewable energy to operate, according to Britishvolt. Among other things, the use of Norwegian hydropower via the NSN Link North Sea connection, which is currently under construction, is being investigated. On the British side, the coastal town of Blyth will serve as the starting point for the submarine cables. According to Britishvolt, the investment volume amounts to 2.6 billion pounds or 2.8 billion euros. It is the largest industrial investment in the north-east of England since Nissan settled in Sunderland in 1984, the company points out.”
good luck with “the renewable energy” cable.
dfhunter, thanks for the additional information. I posted fairly sarcastically about this on Jit’s “I Dream of EV” earlier today, but I hadn’t picked up on the plant’s apparent reliance on Norwegian hydropower via an interconnector. Oh dear.
a bit o/t but that big undersea eruption in the news just shows how many other things the “Planet”
oops – hit the wrong button/key again !!!
what was I trying to say (badly) was in the modern era we have not had a global event that wakes us up to the power for destruction the planet can wreck without our control.
df you wrote “ in the modern era we have not had a global event that wakes us up to the power for destruction the planet can wreck without our control”. I demure. For starters I offer you the 2008 Sichuan earthquake that caused immense and widespread damage and more than 85 thousand deaths. If anything in modern times demonstrated the unbridled power of geological catastrophes, this did. Huge earthquakes in the 8 to 9 range, producing enormous tsunamis, are also seemingly not very uncommon in Alaska. In some parts of the world the Earth is truly to be feared. Sometimes those areas are a surprise.
An odd fact, in the 1980s I moved from an office in San Francisco to one in Dallas. In San Francisco we feared being caught up in “The Big One” – a major quake along the San Andreas fault zone. In fact we should have worried more about Dallas – being affected by a fault in the Mississippi Valley. Smaller in magnitude perhaps but Dallas was totally unprepared for any seismic activity and will suffer enormously.
dfhunter and Alan K,
This seems to be an era of unusual volcanic/earthquake activity just now. Alan, is that just my perception, or is it simply that (as with “extreme” weather events) we are much more aware of them these days because of the ubiquity of smartphones, the internet and 24/7 news? Instead of roundups of each year’s extreme weather driven by “climate chaos”, an annual summary of the year’s volcanic/earthquake activity would be an interesting thing to see.
The obsession with climate seems to be leaving this vital area ignored. Of course, just as we can’t stop climate change, we can’t stop the earth doing what it will do. But if we diverted some of the megabucks being wasted in futilely trying to stop climate change into detection equipment and sensible plans about safety measures in high-risk zones, we might do a lot more good.
From Hecla allegedly being the indirect cause of the French revolution of 1789, through Karakatoa to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, the Pacific tsunami, and beyond, an awful lot of death and destruction is involved here. And, other than briefly showing shocked interest after each individual event, the media and politicians don’t bang on relentlessly about these things in the way they do about climate change.
Mark. I’m unsure if there have been an increase in large damaging earthquakes in recent decades. Those in the past, in far distant locales tend to be soon forgotten. Those occurring in modernised societies tend not to be marked by significant loss of life or, in many but not in all cases, major damage loses, because of prior warnings or strict building codes and ordinances.
Wikipedia gives extensive lists of major earthquakes by decade and I can see no trend. Recently there have been a relatively large number of major earthquakes in the greater Indian Ocean area, especially in the Sumatra region. I don’t know if these are separate events or whether they are related to each other with one quake putting extra stress on the region and precipitating other fault lines to move in relatively short intervals.
Whereas much could probably be done in third world countries to predict future major earthquakes or to mitigate damage/loss of life, it is also true to say that enormous sums are already being spent in these areas.
The obsession with conferences would seem to be a 21st-century version of Parkinson’s Law:
Conferences will expand until all Russell Group graduates have gainful employment.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Another WEET conference is coming up on 10th February – “The UK Emissions Trading Scheme; Progress and next steps, international positioning, competition, and supporting decarbonisation in key sectors”.
Keynote speakers – Lord Deben; Ben Rimmington, Director General, Net Zero Buildings and Industry, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy; Adam Berman, European Policy Director, International Emissions Trading Association; and Dr Andy Jefferson, Programme Director, Sustainable Aviation.
Also – George Anstey, NERA Economic Consulting; Peter Aylott, UK Chamber of Shipping; Guy Buckenham, EDF Energy; Kisha Couchman, Energy UK; Rachel Fletcher, Octopus Energy; Dr Ralf Martin, London School of Economics and Political Science; Dr Danial Sturge, Energy Systems Catapult; Claire Thornhill, Frontier Economics; Ian Truman, Burges Salmon; Laith Whitwham, Aldersgate Group; Richard Woolley, Chemical Industries Association.
“Delegates will assess year one of the UK ETS – following the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme Order 2020 which set the framework and rules for operation – alongside opportunities for fine-tuning and developing the scheme. The conference will also look at international examples, such as the EU ETS, and opportunities for aligning with international schemes in the long term.
Overall, the agenda will bring out latest thinking on:
the transition from EU ETS to UK ETS, regime operation, and efficiency
the impact of tighter UK ETS caps and next steps for the trade market
the role of ETS in supporting decarbonisation in energy-intensive industries and other key sectors
opportunities for connecting with EU and other ETS systems globally
the potential for the UK to lead internationally through its ETS design”.
I dare say a lot of people will make a lot of money out of emissions trading. What it will achieve escapes me.
Another WEET conference will be along on 26th April – “Next steps for CCUS policy and commercialisation. Policy and long-term deployment, the clusters programme, commercialisation, supply chain, global outlook.”
“The agenda includes sessions on:
CCUS policy priorities and commercialising technology development
Track-1 Clusters and progression to Phase-2 of the Cluster Sequencing Process
growing the CCUS supply chain, and potential impact on local economies
rollout and deployment of CCUS at a global level
carbon capture and storage portfolios for 2050, with the Carbon TakeBack Obligation
long-term deployment of CCUS and assessing its role in net-zero ambitions”
As usual, the taxpayer is putting up money for this particular agenda, and no doubt there is money to be made:
“allocating the government’s £1bn Carbon Capture and Storage Infrastructure Fund to deliver the greatest benefit ” [to whom? I find myself idly wondering…].
On Thursday 10th March 2022, et another WEET conference is scheduled to take place, this time :
“Green skills, apprenticeships, and employment – Policy, implementation, and priorities for education and training, businesses, and the workforce”.
I can’t say I’m impressed:
” Green Jobs Taskforce report – proposing:
that every job has the potential to be green
public and private investment in quality green jobs and skills
strategic planning for creating market demand and sustained investment
guarantees of diversity and inclusion in emerging low-carbon jobs
a just transition for workers moving from high carbon industries
– Green Jobs – the report from the Environmental Audit Committee, with recommendations for the Government including:
o defining green jobs
o setting out plans for cross-departmental policy
o aligning the Careers strategy with net-zero goals
– House of Lords Built Environment Committee report – highlighting construction skills shortages as a key obstacle to house building and calling for the apprenticeship levy to be scrapped
– Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener – setting out the Government’s plans for decarbonising the UK economy to meet net-zero ambitions
– the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill
– the IfATE’s Green Apprenticeships Advisory Panel
– announcements from the Education Secretary – a commitment for climate change education to be in place by 2023 and publication of the draft Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy
– Unlocking the skills needed for a digital and green future – the Make UK report on the green skills needs of UK manufacturers”.
It looks like the same old stale glib talking points and checklist.
More conferences, more gassing!
10th June 2022 – Greenhouse Gas Removals – Policy, innovation, development, investment, and commercialisation
“Greenhouse Gas Removals: Summary of Reponses to the Call for Evidence – published by BEIS and HM Treasury and concluding that without engineered GGRs, 2050 net-zero targets will not be met “. So net zero is pie in the sky.
“Strategic Priorities Fund Wave 2 Greenhouse Gas Removal Programme – UKRI will invest £31.5m in land-based GGR demonstrator projects ”
Money, money, money.
29th June 2022 – Next steps for food and climate policy in the UK
“policy – government measures for decarbonising UK agriculture, such as the Sustainable Farming Incentive – options for supporting transition from direct payments to the ELMs system”.
“innovation – soil health and crop development – sustainability, productivity and profitability – awareness and accessibility – skills development – scaling up – support for farmers in transition
investment – public and private funding sources and their roles – priorities for supporting the UK agricultural industry to achieve productivity as well as contribute to net-zero goals
carbon capture – latest thinking on methods in farming – what is needed to support farmers navigate energy and system changes”.
Money, money, money.
Still the conferences come thick and fast:
9th May 2022 – “Next steps for green finance in the UK
Policy and regulatory developments, SDRs and the green taxonomy, a UK net-zero financial centre, international collaboration, wider societal benefits”
17th June 2022 – “Next steps for the UK nuclear sector
Policy developments, financing and investment, industry priorities, AMR and SMR innovation and deployment”
Here’s another one. No sign of reality dawning yet:
“Next steps for developing UK offshore wind generation – Infrastructure, project investment, and priorities for innovation
Morning, Tuesday, 7th June 2022”
This conference will discuss the next steps for offshore wind energy in the UK, as well as infrastructure challenges and supply chain constraints, whilst looking at its wider role in contributing towards greater UK energy security and decarbonised electricity.
This discussion takes place in the context of the recent amendments to the now annual Contracts for Difference auctions, the announcements around ScotWind Leasing, and forthcoming Holistic Network Design for offshore wind projects.
This is in addition to the forthcoming new National Energy Strategy, which is expected to emphasise a need to further increase domestic offshore wind generation, and set out how the renewable sector can evolve given current global market challenges around security and costs.
There’s to be another of these on 28th April:
“The future for energy policy in Wales”
Three sessions of interest, since implicitly they recognise the problems that all this will cause:
“preparing the grid and transmission system for future challenges
behavioural change and energy efficiency
employment opportunities and achieving a just transition”.
Tomorrow’s conference (which I’ve mentioned above) has resurfaced in a recent email. Perhaps they’re short of numbers and are drumming up interest? The heading is:
“Negative Emissions Technologies (NETS) and greenhouse gas removals (GGRs)
Policy, investment, innovation, development, commercialisation and measurement”.
Jo Warner, Deputy Director, Net Zero Frameworks, BEIS
Nathan Wyatt, Assistant Director, National Infrastructure Commission
Thibaut Cheret, Offshore Energies UK; Wafa Jafri, KPMG; Eve Joseph, Microsoft UK; Dr Alan Knight, Drax; Professor Niall Mac Dowell, Imperial College London; David Nash, The Engineering Construction Industry Training Board; Olivia Powis, CCSA; Dr Amy Ruddock, Carbon Engineering; Dr Danial Sturge, Energy Systems Catapult; Katie Sullivan, International Emissions Trading Association; Claire Thornhill, Frontier Economics; Adrian Topham, The Crown Estate; and Nick Walker, Watson Farley & Williams
Rt Hon Lord Howell of Guildford, former Secretary of State for Energy; and Member, House of Lords Constitution Committee’
Lord Ravensdale, Officer, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Energy Studies.
Should anyone be interested…
The discussion takes place in the context of:
– the Net Zero Strategy target of 5 MtCO2/year of engineered removals by 2030
– the latest IPCC Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change report citing carbon removal as essential in meeting net-zero targets
– the unveiling of plans to bring forward a new Energy Bill in The Queen’s Speech, announcing legislative changes to boost new technologies and introduce new business models
– new government funding to support industry to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels through carbon capture and new technologies
– a range of consultations due to be published on the business models for engineered greenhouse gas removals (GGRs), as well as on the core monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) principles for GGR technologies
Sessions in the agenda look at:
potential – engineered GGRs in the UK: policy – targets – latest developments
innovation – implementation of the portfolio approach – assessing technology readiness – preparation of supply chains – developing skills & the employment market
system development – establishing a reporting framework for emissions & removal – tracking progress – consideration of lifecycle emissions
measurement – standards for: monitoring – reporting – verification of negative emissions
role in net-zero objectives – effectiveness in offsetting emissions – interaction with carbon pricing policy – consistency – transparency – confidence
hard-to-abate sectors – options for: policy – support – further incentives
investment – priorities: a liquid market for carbon removals – revenue stream stability – investor confidence
policy – business model development – addressing market barriers – 2050 decarbonisation targets – positioning the UK as a leader in GGR
Better late than never, perhaps? On 8th July there will be another conference, this time on:
“Energy costs and fuel poverty – immediate priorities and long-term strategy
Market conditions, policy, regulation, stakeholder roles, domestic energy efficiency, and consumer protection”.
Will it just be yet another talking shop? Certainly the agenda is verbose and to my mind not remotely focussed on the things it should focus on. The obsession with net zero, despite its obvious conflict with the object of reducing energy costs and fuel poverty, remains as strong as ever. The agenda includes topics such as:
‘Building an opportunity out of disaster: energy affordability, independence, and net zero emissions’ and
Strategies to deliver long term energy efficiency improvements across homes – behavioural change, innovation in materials and construction, renewables and supply chain decarbonisation
The conference bus is already rolling onwards to 2023. Another WEET conference will take place on 12th January 2023 on “Next steps for UK heat and heat networks – Government strategy, market frameworks, heat pumps, and decarbonising buildings”.
Disturbingly, it includes as a “key area for discussion” this:
“low carbon heating systems – heat pump delivery and infrastructure – market mechanisms for investment and innovation – gas boiler phase out”.
It seems they aren’t going to let go of this pie-in-the-sky nonsense any time soon.
Another key area sounds interesting:
“implementation and impact on households and businesses – behavioural change – supply chain requirements – affordable low carbon heat alternatives”.
Implicitly, that seems to acknowledge that there is an impact and that it might be negative.
Under “relevant developments” (always worth keeping an eye on these to learn what madness is coming down the tracks), we learn:
“Energy Security Bill – announced in the Queen’s Speech 2022, including:
o appointment of Ofgem as the new regulator for heat networks with oversight for pricing and reliable supply
o the provision of a new market standard and trading scheme for electric heat pumps in the consumer market
– Green Heat Network Fund – running until 2025, the £288m grant fund will go towards low carbon technologies to help deliver clean heating to homes, commercial and public buildings
– Spring Statement 2022 – including announcements that:
o VAT on energy saving materials, such as heat pumps and roof insulation, will be cut from 5% to 0% for five years
o a 100% relief for eligible low-carbon heat networks will also be available
– Boiler Upgrade Scheme – providing grants for property owners to install low carbon heating systems
– Heat and Buildings Strategy – from BEIS in Autumn 2021, setting out plans to decarbonise UK homes, as well as commercial, industrial and public sector buildings, to meet net-zero ambitions by 2050 ”
There’s more, of course, but that’s probably enough to be going on with.