Category Archives: Articles

The attached slides were presented by Antonia Dickman, Joint Head of Environment Research at Ipsos Mori, at the PGES Speaker Meeting on 02/03/15.

The slides can be accessed here.

This review is published jointly by the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Parliamentary Group for Energy Studies. The aim of this review is to take a longer term perspective on UK energy policies since 1980, the year in which the Parliamentary Group for Energy Studies was founded.

The authors are leading energy policy analysts Professor Peter Pearson, Director of the Low Carbon Research Institute of Wales, Cardiff University, and Professor Jim Watson, Director of the Sussex Energy Group, University of Sussex.

The publication identifies key trends in the development of UK energy policies, and offers reflections on what has changed (and what has not) and what lessons might be learned. The review:

  • charts the significant changes the UK has experienced in the structure of energy supply and demand since 1980;
  • demonstrates that trends in energy policy cannot be analysed in isolation from the broader trends in politics and political philosophy that underpin successive governments;
  • demonstrates that successive governments have been faced with a difficult task of balancing multiple policy objectives and instruments, and
  • charts the diminishing attention paid to energy policy after the privatisations of the 1980s and its gradual rise, with climate change, to centre stage again.

The review can be accessed here.

Members of the Parliamentary Group for Energy Studies

Dear All,

We at the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) were delighted to be able to sponsor the recent Annual Dinner of PGES. Many thanks to those of you who were able to attend and make it such a success.

At the dinner, I announced that IChemE is soon to launch a new ‘Energy Centre’, to provide advice to decision-makers around the world on energy policy issues, from the perspective of the chemical engineering community. We are keen to ensure that the Centre, IChemE and indeed chemical engineers themselves contribute usefully in this space, and as such, it would be very helpful to get your thoughts on the following questions.

  • What is the biggest challenge that your area of work faces in developing or using secure, sustainable and affordable energy supplies?
  • What is the greatest opportunity you see in the energy space within the coming years?
  • How do you think a professional engineering community, like IChemE, can best contribute to policy discussions about energy issues?

Please email if you have any thoughts (however brief) about these questions, or if you would just like to stay in touch with the activities of the Centre.

Best wishes,

Andrew Jamieson

Deputy President, IChemE

The International Climate Fund is a five-year (2011-2016), £3.87 billion fund managed jointly by the Department for International Development; Department of Energy and Climate Change; and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. It is a central part of the UK’s climate change response. Its goal is to support international poverty reduction by helping developing countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change, take up low-carbon growth and tackle deforestation.

The UK has made a major policy commitment to supporting international action on climate change. It has catalysed positive action, taking a leadership position on the need to shape and deliver an effective international agreement.

The ICF is both a significant contribution to climate finance and a tool for influencing action at the international and national levels. After a challenging start, it has built up significant momentum and is now well placed to deliver on its ambitious objectives. While many of its investments have had long lead times and remained unproven, there is evidence of early impact in a range of areas. It has pioneered new approaches in the measurement of results.

At the country level, it has worked with governments, Civil Society Organisations and some private sector entities to incorporate mitigation and adaptation goals into their development programming. ICAI found good evidence of emerging impact on the ground in our two country visits to Indonesia and Ethiopia. At the national level, the ICF is helping to create incentives for climate action. At the programme level, it is helping poor communities to adopt climate-resilient land management practices and protect against infringements on their land that would result in deforestation or degradation.

As a result of these findings, ICAI have given a rating of Green-Amber.

Graham Ward, ICAI Chief Commissioner, said: “The ICF has faced several delivery challenges, many of them related to the initial pressure to spend money quickly. It has since made good progress on addressing those challenges. There is still scope to improve the pace of implementation on what are often long-term investments. It is too early to assess overall impact, but trajectory is promising. The ICF has had a positive impact on the international financial system, for example, in the development of the Green Climate Fund and in the operation of the Climate Investment Funds.”

Commissioner Mark Foster, said, “The ICF needs to develop a more detailed private sector strategy, identifying the conditions and strategies needed for attracting different forms of private capital for low-carbon, resilient growth. These might include foreign direct investment, foreign bank lending and institutional investment. This would enable more effective use of public finance in the ICF’s priority countries and thematic areas by amplifying and accelerating capital flows.”

The full ICAI report can be found here. For further information please feel free to contact:

Sam Harrison
Engagement Manager and Press Secretary to the Commissioners at the ICAI
020 7270 6742;

Ever since he took up his post two years ago, Secretary of State for energy and Climate Change Ed Davey MP has tirelessly championed the need for a binding target across Europe of a 40% cut in carbon dioxide emissions between 1990 and 2030.  It now looks pretty certain that his campaign will be successful.

The European Parliament has voted in favour. A large number of national governments are concurring. The European Commission has published a detailed policy paper, endorsing this figure.

So far, so uncontroversial.

But that target, Mr Davey argues, is sufficient by itself. He does not believe it necessary to have any related targets – whether covering renewables or energy efficiency. “Adopting an ambitious and binding greenhouse gas target will provide … a compelling reason for us all to do more on energy efficiency. But we should not prejudge the balance between increasing efficiency and deploying other low-carbon measures to meet the greenhouse gas targets, ” he maintains.

Others beg to differ. Among those acknowledging the need for further statutory, as opposed to just aspirational, objectives are his opposite numbers from most of the Western European governments: France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and many others.

At present, the European Union does have three energy-related targets for 2020. Each is based upon an emblematic 20% reduction. These are: to cut greenhouse gases by 20%, to boost the proportion of renewable energy to 20%, and to improve energy efficiency by 20%.

These may appear equal in timescale and objective. But they are not equal in stature. The first two both have the force of Community law behind them, effectively compelling each government to adopt appropriate policies. The energy-saving target does not have the same status at all. It is far from compulsory, just an indicative aspiration.

Does this distinction matter in practice? You bet it does. The consequence of this “also ran” status is plain. Whereas there is confidence that the first two targets are on track to being met (indeed exceeded), you can find nobody who right now believes the 2020 energy efficiency “target” will be met.

The European Commission is due to publish in June its best forecast as to just how significant the under-performance is likely to be.

It has already published some very telling evidence that suggests that those who pursue only a single 2030 target may well be guilty of deliberately frustrating many other worthwhile  objectives.

It is official European policy that all new proposals must be capable of being justified via the accompanying economic impact assessment. Each new European Commission policy document is now rightly required to have a detailed Impact Assessment published alongside it.

This one demonstrates clearly that adopting complementary targets covering energy efficiency and renewables, as well as greenhouse gas emissions, would result in higher benefits relating to a whole variety of other public policies.

It is clear from this analysis that concentrating upon greenhouse gases alone means approaching the entire policy area from too narrow a standpoint. Granted the threat of runaway climate change requires effective action to contain its worst excesses. But there are a number of other policy priorities aside from carbon abatement that all of Europe is seeking to address simultaneously.

The conclusion of the Impact Assessment is stark. And it is unequivocal.  There would be many further benefits, above and beyond the climate changes ones, which would be obtained only via the adoption of new and very specific targets for both energy efficiency and for renewable energy.

These are adumbrated succinctly. To quote paragraph 85 of the Executive Summary of the Impact Assessment, they include: “improvements in fuel efficiency, security of supply, reduction of the negative trade balance for fossil fuels, localised environmental impacts, and health benefits.”

To cap it all , those who seek to limit Europe to a single, solely ecological, target – in the objective view of the Impact Assessment – are endorsing a policy that will “result in lower GDP and employment, compared to a framework based on more ambitious targets for renewables and energy efficiency.”

As you can see, the conclusion is clear.  European climate policy should not be developed in a silo, concentrating upon just a single climate-oriented policy outcome.

We need also to be concerned about improving public health, increasing Europe’s competitiveness, creating new jobs and industries, and reducing levels of energy imports. And, indeed, ensuring that we can keep the lights on.

For all these reasons, when later this year all the European institutions do formally agree a policy framework for both climate and energy policy in the period from 2020 to 2030, there can be no question as to the best outcome. Three places to head are better than one.

For further information please feel free to contact:
Andrew Warren, Director, Association for the Conservation of Energy
020 7359 8000;

On the 4th February, the Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA) and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) published their joint report “The Economic Benefits of CCS in the UK”. The report set out new modelling showing the benefits of Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) to the UK economy including significant job creation and Gross Value Added (GVA).

The modelling is based on four scenarios from the Energy Technologies Institute’s (ETI) Energy Systems Modelling Environment (ESME) tool. The ESME tool concludes that without CCS, the cost of delivering a UK low-carbon energy mix in 2050 would increase by £30-£40 billion per year (1% of GDP!).

Using these four scenarios, the CCSA/TUC report concludes that inclusion of CCS in the mix of low-carbon technologies results in a 15 per cent reduction in the wholesale price of electricity by 2030, compared with scenarios where CCS is not deployed. This reduction has a direct impact on the average household, with bills estimated to be £82 lower per year by 2030 in the scenarios with full CCS deployment.

The potential job creation from CCS is significant – estimates from existing data indicate between 1000-2,500 jobs created during construction in each new power plant CCS installation, with a further 200-300 jobs created in operation and maintenance and the associated supply chain (40-100 jobs at the plant itself). Evidence that these estimates are broadly accurate can be seen from the first actual power plant CCS installation at Boundary Dam in Canada, which is due to start operation early this year. This project employed more than 1,500 people during construction and maintains 41 operational employees at the plant itself.

The report also gives an estimate of total job creation from CCS by 2030. This requires an estimate of projected CCS capacity and the report uses a range of 10-20 GW – numbers that have been quoted in both Government and industry reports. This range translates into approximately 15-25 CCS installations by 2030, totalling annual number of jobs created from CCS in the range of 15,000-30,000.

In addition to job creation, the GVA benefits from CCS to the UK economy are significant. Using a realistic aspiration of 75% UK supply chain content in UK CCS projects (UK content), the report estimates that the GVA benefits from CCS deployment in the UK are in the region of £2-4 billion per year by 2030, with a cumulative market value of £15-35 billion. Importantly, the report states that the benefits from CCS could be felt much earlier – indeed there are five to seven ‘shovel ready’ power and industry CCS projects that could deliver benefits in the next parliamentary term (2015-2020). Each power sector project could deliver between £150–200 million GVA per year during its lifetime.

The report concludes that “The UK has reached a defining moment with regards to the future of a successful CCS industry”, and that action taken over the next 7-10 years will determine whether the UK can reap the significant benefits of CCS. It therefore proposes that five key actions should be prioritised by the UK Government, including immediate roll-out of the two projects in the current CCS competition as well as final investment decisions on non-competition projects, implementation of Electricity Market Reform appropriately designed for CCS, development of transport and storage infrastructure and support for industrial CCS.

The CCSA/TUC report “The Economic Benefits of CCS in the UK” can be downloaded from

For further information please feel free to contact:
Judith Shapiro, Policy and Communications Manager, CCSA
020 3031 8750;

The Big Energy Upgrade campaign was launched in 2010 as one of the first multi-partner initiatives to adopt a ‘whole house, whole community’ approach to domestic energy efficiency.

The unique consortium of partners consists of Local Authorities, Registered State Landlords, Arms Length Management Organisations, a Community Interest Company and the University of Sheffield. These diverse and specialist organisations are determined to fight fuel poverty and construct an effective blue print for the future of community energy saving schemes.

Supported financially through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), hundreds of properties have already been transformed, helping thousands of residents save energy and money. In addition, the innovative programme has helped support some of Yorkshire and the Humber’s most vulnerable communities, as well as create jobs and stimulate the regional supply chain.

But we hope to do more and inspire others at our event on Friday 21st March at the University of Sheffield. So please do come along and learn about our success stories, the project analytics, hear the Rt Hon Caroline Flint MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change speak and meet other industry figures who want to make a difference.

For more information on the Big Energy Upgrade visit and to book a free place, go to

The development of a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) brings with it a wide range of benefits, and concerns, for any potential host community. Jobs and economic activity are the obvious advantages as infrastructure is built – and later managed and maintained. Equally, the local population will have perfectly legitimate concerns about safety and security, and these must be addressed quickly and clearly.

Arup believes providing detailed GDF Briefing Packs from the outset would drive open discussion of the advantages for any Volunteer Community, while providing a critical platform to tackle the inevitable challenges.

As it stands, the current planning process means negative issues can often gain traction before positive evaluations on economic and societal factors can fully demonstrate the advantages to prospective host communities.

This makes it difficult for community champions to take the high-profile step of registering an Expression of Interest (EOI) while they lack the hard evidence of tangible gains to the Volunteer Community.

To encourage early and positive community engagement, we advocate a process that delivers a local, specific, objective and balanced vision for the GDF right from the start. The process would involve creating a series of detailed GDF Briefing Packs.

A Pack would be developed for each of a dozen or so district-sized areas across England and Wales and would provide well-researched and objective evaluations for the benefits and challenges of GDF development specific to the district. In a similar way to any other economic impact assessments or regional development plans, the GDF Briefing Packs would be open to discussion and challenge, based on balanced, specific local information. The packs could also incorporate GIS (Geographical Information System)-based evaluation tools and chart elements such as excluded geology, transport networks, complementary industrial sectors or other features.

The GDF Briefing Packs would form the basis of direct discussion with potential local champions to enhance understanding, interest and engagement. This could then support the submission of an Expression of Interest from the Volunteer Community and tie in with the work of apolitical advisory partners such as Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

The human element is critical here. If development is to proceed, concerns must be addressed openly and frankly before any project will gain the assent of the community. Yet without the data needed to drive support in the early stages of the development process, an information vacuum can generate uninformed and often negative speculation.

The best way to combat this challenge is to articulate and disseminate balanced, informed and objective information that highlights the benefits and addresses potential concerns in a sensible manner.

By developing GDF Briefing Packs, we can provide a tool for doing just that.