7 December 2009

Archaic system and complex red tape threaten UK energy security

Archaic system and complex red tape threaten UK energy security

THE UK’s desperate attempts to achieve energy security by 2015 are hamstrung by an archaic planning system, poor infrastructure and complex and ever-changing legislation, according to a new report.

Experts predict that 2015 will be the year in which demand for energy outstrips supply in the UK, an unthinkable situation for an economy already deeply mired in debt. However, too little is being done to pave the way for low carbon generation to come to the fore, according to the North East Chamber of Commerce’s Energy Policy Working Group.

The group, made up of business leaders, renewable energy specialists and services professionals associated with the energy industry, has produced a report entitled Generating Growth which is published on the day world leaders gather for the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

The NECC report, published in partnership with Eversheds LLP law firm, has highlighted a raft of urgent changes the Government must make if a power crisis is to be averted. It raises concerns that the current planning system is not fit for purpose and says a simple mindset change among planners from one of development control to one of growth would free up major projects that are currently stalled.

It illustrates how confusing and complex the current regulatory environment is for all operators. This is arresting the flow of vital private sector investment needed for projects to reach fruition.

In addition, it outlines urgent action needed to address planning, infrastructure and red tape issues to enable the private sector to address the growing problem of rising demand for energy against a backdrop of falling production.

NECC’s Generating Growth energy policy report also highlights the positives, including how the North East of England is ideally placed to play a leading role in solving the problem through its growing expertise in low carbon power generation, renewables and energy-producing heritage.

By making the right improvements to enable the UK to avoid the 2015 energy supply time bomb, the Government will also create a gilt-edged opportunity to bridge the North-South prosperity divide by smoothing the path for long-term, sustainable power generation, according to the report.

Enabling the North East – the first part of the UK to be named a specialist region for low carbon vehicles - to take the lead in areas such as low carbon vehicles and carbon capture and storage (CCS) could bring well in excess of 40,000 jobs to the North East and as much as £10bn new investment between now and 2030.

However, it illustrates the need to have the right supply chains in place to meet the economic opportunities that new energy industries will bring, as well as the importance of ensuring companies can access the right skilled workforces to meet demand. In addition, the report outlines how businesses themselves must make greater efforts to work together with universities to innovate in the future low carbon economy.

The working group’s chairman, Peter Nesbit, who heads up Eversheds' North East Planning Team, said: “This report is a vital step forward in recognising the opportunities for businesses in this region in the energy sector. The group, which has a uniquely private sector focus, has worked hard to uncover a number of case studies which do not simply serve to highlight the barriers facing the sector but also exemplify how we might react more positively to improve our position as a region.

“Immediate action is required in some key areas and the working group has provided a number of recommendations that are considered most likely to be effective in realising our aspirations.”

Martyn Pellew, NECC president and a member of the energy policy group, said: “The UK is on a collision course with a future of blackouts as early as 2015 because too little is being done to address how we maintain levels of energy production – be it nuclear, fossil fueled or renewable.

“NECC’s Generating Growth report identifies key areas that must be addressed if we are to avert this crisis and to push ahead with low carbon energy generation in a confident and sustainable way. The consequences of inaction at this stage are unthinkable.”

The NECC Energy Policy Working Group comprised: Jon Bird, CE Electric; John Bone, Sembcorp Utilities; Ian Burdon, PB Power; Mark Dowdall, Banks Group; Dr Keith Farmery, Graphite Resources; Ian Finch, Narec; Daniel House, ARUP; Wayne Johnson, British Energy; John McCabe, Rio Tinto Alcan; Peter Nesbit, Eversheds; Martyn Pellew, PD Ports; Prof Dermot Roddy, University of Newcastle; and, Andrew Sugden, NECC.

6 December 2009

Is the UK ready for carbon credits, and will they work?

Is the UK ready for carbon credits, and will they work?

-eWEEK Europe UK webinar debates 'Carbon Credits, Copenhagen and UK IT'-

eWEEK Europe UK, www.eweekeurope.co.uk , is exploring the technology impact of the UK's Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) scheme in its new live events channel. The online publication designed for the new era of IT is inviting people to participate in a live webinar: 'Carbon Credits, Copenhagen and UK IT':

Date: Tuesday 15th December, 2009

Time: 11am

Registration: http://www.eweekeurope.co.uk/liveevents/

CRC is a mandatory cap on carbon emissions, due to be introduced in the UK in April 2010. It requires large organisations to purchase allowances for every tonne of CO2 they emit, effectively introducing a new kind of business cost into the balance sheet. Joining Peter Judge, the editor of eWEEK Europe UK, on the guest panel to discuss the issue will be:

· David Metcalfe, director of Verdantix ( www.verdantix.com), the analyst research firm that provides strategic and commercial analysis of climate change, sustainability and energy issues

· Zahl Limbuwala, chair of the BCS Data Centre Specialist group (http://dcsg.bcs.org ), which has led the sustainable IT debate with its research into data centre and IT energy efficiency

· Richard Tarboton, energy and carbon programme director at BT, whose track record in reducing its carbon footprint includes plans for a windfarm which would be the UK's largest renewable energy project run by a company outside the energy sector

Attendees will be encouraged to participate in the discussion. They will be able to able to put questions to the panellists, as well as provide their opinion through live votes on issues such as whether carbon credits will help reduce emissions, and if their organisation accounts for the carbon emissions for which it is responsible.

Peter Judge, editor of eWEEK Europe UK, explains: “We want to find out through our panel of experts whether the UK's CRC scheme will be effective in reducing the overall output of CO2 . At the same time we want to gauge people's level of interest in, and commitment to, the campaign, as this will also be a key factor in determining its success. Anyone with an interest in the topic is encouraged to participate.”

'Carbon Credits, Copenhagen and UK IT', which will be hosted on the webcast platform BrightTalk, is part of eWEEK Europe UK's increased focus on live events. This sees it bring together its web seminars, panel debates and interactive Q&A in one URL: http://www.eweekeurope.co.uk/liveevents/

eWEEK Europe UK's event is timed to coincide with the UN's 2009 climate change conference taking place in Copenhagen from the 7th to 18 th December, during which world leaders will attempt to agree on a successor for the Kyoto protocol which will require all organisations to reduce their environmental impact.