Jan 27, 2020

UK legislation cuts coal-fired electricity generation by 93%

Marcus Lawrence
2 min
The sun is setting on coal-fired electricity generation in the UK
A report from University of Cambridge and University College London (UCL) has found that the UK’s carbon tax, introduced in 2013...

A report from University of Cambridge and University College London (UCL) has found that the UK’s carbon tax, introduced in 2013 and increased in 2015, has led to a staggering 93% cut in the country’s coal-fired electricity generation.

This amounts to a drop from 13.1TWh generated in 2013 to a mere 0.97TWh in 2019, with renewables and gas becoming the preferred options for electricity production. 

The report, titled ‘The Value of International Electricity Trading’ found the UK’s ‘Carbon Price Support’ tax’s overwhelming impact to be a motivator for other countries to adopt a similar model.

“Should EU countries also adopt a high carbon tax we would likely see huge carbon emission reductions throughout the Continent, as we’ve seen in Great Britain over the last few years,” said Dr Giorgio Castagneto Gissey, Bartlett Institute for Sustainable Resources, UCL, who led the project.

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Professor Michael Grubb, also of the Bartlett Institute for Sustainable Resources, UCL, added: “Great Britain’s electricity transition is a monumental achievement of global interest, and has also demonstrated the power of an effective carbon price in lowering dependence on electricity generated from coal.”

The study was conducted primarily to assess cross-border electricity trading between the UK and its connected EU markets as part of Ofgem’s annual State of the Energy Market Report.

Elucidating the finer points of this motive, UCL’s press release for the report said: “Academics researched how the tax affected electricity flows to connected countries and interconnector (the large cables connecting the countries) revenue between 2015 – when the tax was increased to £18 per tonne of carbon dioxide – and 2018. Following this increase, the share of coal-fired electricity generation fell from 28% in 2015 to 5% in 2018, reaching 3% by September 2019.  Increased electricity imports from the continent reduced the price impact in the UK, and meant that some of the cost was paid through a slight increase in continental electricity prices (mainly in France and the Netherlands).” 

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May 13, 2021

All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency

schools
energyefficiency
Renewables
Dominic Ellis
2 min
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only UK regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil

Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.

Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.

According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.

Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.

“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."

He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."

North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).

The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.

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