UK: Climate Change And Energy Update - December 2008

Last Updated: 16 December 2008
Article by Tom Bainbridge



The Energy Act 2008: an overview of the key measures introduced by the Act.

News bites

RWE Innogy acquires half of the Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm: In one of the biggest ever wind power acquisitions, RWE will pay £308m to Scottish and Southern Energy for a 50% stake in the wind farm which is located 25 kilometres off the coast of Suffolk and will comprise 140 wind turbines.

ScottishPower plans to develop a string of wind farms: In a joint venture with Vattenfall of Sweden, ScottishPower plans to develop plants around the UK capable of generating 6,000MW of energy.

Ofgem publishes climate change levy guidance for renewables exemptions: On 1 November 2008, Ofgem published a revised guidance note, Climate Change Levy exemption for renewables: Guidance for generators and suppliers. The guidance explains how renewable generators secure Levy Exemptions and how suppliers should use them.

DECC appoints new nuclear decommissioning fund watchdog: On 3 November 2008, The Department for Energy and Climate Change announced the appointment of Lady Balfour of Burleigh as chair of the Nuclear Liabilities Financing Assurance Board. The Board will act as the watchdog for the funding arrangements that operators of new nuclear power stations will have to put in place to cover the costs of decommissioning the stations and managing their nuclear waste.

EU 'Supergrid' announced: Within the European Commission's Strategic Energy Review published on 13 November, a proposal for a 'supergrid' was announced. The grid, following a blueprint drawn up by the European Commission, will include new cables linking North Sea wind farms and a network patching together the disparate electricity grids of the Baltic region and the countries bordering the Mediterranean.

RWE buys stake in Agrinergy: On 13 November, German utility RWE announced it had acquired a 50% stake in the Singapore-based Clean Development Mechanism project company Agrinergy. Michael Fuebi, vice president of climate protection at RWE Power, said of the union, "We expect a number of synergy effects from this partnership, since we'll be able to combine both Agrinergy's and our own CDM project management experience with our company's financial strength."

Coal mining sites to be redeveloped as wind farms: In a joint venture between UK Coal and Peel Energy, more than a dozen of the UK's former coal mining sites will be developed with a plan to erect 54 turbines generating up to 133 megawatts of electricity per hour, enough to power 80,000 homes.

EU Directive comes into force to improve transparency of gas and electricity prices: on 27 November, Directive 2008/92/EC came into force. Under the Directive, Member States are required to ensure that companies which supply gas or electricity to industrial users, communicate to the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat) the prices and terms of sale.

Ireland planning to invest £3.2bn in UK renewables: The Times has reported that ESBI, the international arm of the Irish Republic's Electricity Supply Board, has plans to invest in up to 3,000MW of gas-fired and renewable generation plants in the UK by 2020.

Sale of potentially 'prime' nuclear sites commences: On 26 November, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority launched the sale of land at Wylfa, Oldbury and Bradwell, adjacent to existing nuclear power plants. The Financial Times reported the land is regarded as 'prime sites' for the next generation of nuclear power stations.

Lords economic affairs committee faults planned expansion of wind energy: The planned expansion of wind energy would be "costly" and "risky", said the Lords economic affairs committee, favouring more nuclear power stations, which they claimed would be cheaper.

Environment Agency announces plans to produce enough green energy on its sites to power a city the size of York: As part of this initiative, up to 80 wind turbines could be built on EA-owned land across the country. They could produce around 200MW of renewable energy, the EA has estimated.

HBSC reported to have reviewed links with Canadian tar sand developers: The Times reports that environmental concerns have reportedly prompted HSBC to review links with the developers on the grounds that tougher climate regulations may make such activities commercially unviable.

Government gives go-ahead for Welsh wind farm: Permission has been granted for a 750MW wind farm off the north coast of Wales. To be built by Npower Renewables, the farm will be capable of powering more than 700,000 homes and should be operational by 2014.



The Carbon Reduction Commitment: an in-depth review of the progress of the scheme due to be introduced next year.

The Climate Change Act 2008: an overview of the key measures introduced by the Act.

The Mayor's London Climate Change Strategy: Boris Johnson's proposals for London's response to Climate Change.

The pre-budget report and climate change policy

EU ETS Update: a review of recent developments, including the first auction of permits.

EU Energy Package Update: policy developments on the European stage.

Poznan talks: climate change talks on the international stage.

Obama's Presidency: what will it mean for US and international climate change efforts?

International News Round-up: an overview of current international developments in energy and climate change.

News bites

Lord Turner says complete decarbonisation of the country's power system necessary: As chairman of the Government's Committee on Climate Change, Lord Turner has said that the complete decarbonisation of the country's power system, and the electrification of large parts of the economy that at present are reliant on other, carbon-based forms of energy, are needed if the Government is to reach its target of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.

BP withdraws from UK CCS competition: As well as withdrawing from renewables projects in the UK, BP has confirmed that it has pulled out of the competition to win UK Government funding to build a full-scale carbon capture and storage plant in Britain by 2014.

British Engineers develop the 'Searaser': A prototype pump has been developed which uses the action of waves to pump seawater uphill to reservoirs, enabling hydroelectric generation to take place. The amount of electricity generated from each pump is small (enough to power around 470 homes) however the pumps could potentially be deployed on a large scale.

Aviation included in EUETS: The European Parliament and the Council have voted in favour of Aviations inclusion in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme from January 2012. A Directive is currently being drafted which will govern and control 'Aviation Allowances'. Provisions will relate to all flights (international and domestic) from and to the 27 EU Member States, with most allowances allocated free of charge in February 2012, with the potential to reduce the number of allowances in the 2013-2020 period.

Lawyers called to respond to the challenge of climate change: The Legal Sector Alliance (LSA) has launched a set of principles to support members in taking action on climate change. The Law Society reports that the LSA principles have been developed through extensive consultation with environmental experts and law firms of all sizes across the country. They cover firms' own operations, as well as their influence on clients, suppliers, employees and policy makers.

Ed Miliband promises low-carbon industrial strategy in the Spring: At the annual Environment Agency conference, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change announced that a low carbon industrial strategy would be published in the Spring "to show how Britain can take advantage of the green opportunities that will be available in our economy".

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change publishes its Climate Change 2007 synthesis report: (Click here to access the full report and here for the summary)

The Committee on Climate Change releases its first report: The Committee, set up under the Climate Change Act, outlined that UK emissions should be reduced by 34% by 2020. They state that significant reductions can be achieved at a cost of less than 1% of GDP in 2020, and using existing green technologies. (Click here to access the report)

The CBI urges businesses not to give up on climate change in the recession: At the annual CBI conference on 2 December, Director-General Richard Lambert urged Government to show leadership by forging ahead with its ambitious emissions reduction targets and delivering a framework for investment, saying that otherwise, "the opportunity to make the transition to a low-carbon economy will slip through our fingers".



The Planning Act 2008: an overview of the key climate change measures introduced by the Act.

The Planning and Energy Act 2008: an overview of the Act which enshrines the 'Merton Rule'.

News bites

Diageo obtains planning permission for £65m energy-from-waste plant in Fife: The world's largest alcoholic beverages group recently obtained the permission for a plant at its distillery in Cameron Bridge, Fife. The plant will generate energy from the by-products of Scotland's largest whisky distillery. It is claimed that this investment is the biggest single investment in renewable energy by a non-utility company in the UK.

Only 15 homes reported to have met zero-carbon target under 2006 tax scheme: The Times has reported that a £15m project to build hundreds of new zero-carbon homes has fallen flat after only 15 qualified in the first year. The scheme to waive stamp duty for new zero-carbon houses giving buyers savings of about £15,000, was introduced in 2006. Supporters of the scheme say it is too early to dismiss and still expect it to stimulate the market for highly efficient homes.



Click here for a sumary of consultations in progress

Click here for a summary of consultations closed this year


Click here for more detail on the progress of relevant bills

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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