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  BRITAIN

Unless greenhouse gases are controlled, Britain faces an Arctic climate this century due to the loss of warm waters from the Gulf Stream.(see link at bottom of page). Early October 2008, a new “Energy & Climate” cabinet position was created to focus on climate change.  In 2000, the proportion of the UK’s electricity supplied from renewable sources stood at 2.7%. By 2009 it was just 6.7%, well short of the department’s target to generate 10% by the end of 2010. 
The Guardian newspaper has an excellent, exhaustive web site devoted to the issues – links at bottom. 

December 2015: In 2014, the UK electricity mix was 31% coal, 31% gas, 19% renewables and 18% nuclear. In recent years, the UK has added thousands of renewable power schemes to its ageing and dwindling fleet of coal, nuclear and gas plants. Yet these older sources still supply most of the UK’s electricity. The UK’s energy resources are not shared evenly. Perhaps most strikingly, the UK’s solar farms are concentrated in the south. The UK’s hydroelectric generation is limited to Scotland and Wales, where plentiful rainfall, mountains and sparsely populated valleys make it easier to build dams. Windfarms are skewed towards the coastlines and higher ground where consistent wind speeds are more reliable. (link with maps)

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November 2012: Energy efficiency measures could replace 22 power stations. link 
May 2011: Britain's Green Investment Bank. link  (The Green Investment Bank may allocate all of the 3 billion by as early as 2015, prioritizing offshore wind, waste treatment. - link
March 2011: Climate change 'will wreak havoc on Britain's coastline by 2050’.   link
January 2014: Flood-hit UK must prepare for more extreme weatherlink        
May 2016: London mayor joins air pollution court case against UK  government.  link   
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Latest news:

Sept. 6 2016: Britain's ongoing nuclear disaster. The UK's 'reprocessing' of spent fuel into 140 tonnes of plutonium, enough to build 20,000 nuclear bombs, will leave 100s of billions of maintenance and cleanup costs to future generations. Perhaps the most eye-watering revelations in the BBC Panorama programme were that, although reprocessing was going to cease, the waste containment functions of Sellafield would continue for another 110 years at an estimated cost of up to 162 billion. link  (More on Sellafield in Nuclear section)

Aug. 16 2016: Second phase of world’s biggest off-shore windfarm approved. Fifty-five miles off the coast of Grimsby, the project by Denmark’s Dong Energy is expected to deliver 1,800MW of electricity providing energy to 1.8m UK homes. Offshore wind is already on course to meet 10% of the UK’s electricity demand by 2020. link

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         Below:

  • Britain's greenhouse gas emissions 
  • Wind Power
  • Solar Power
  • Renewables
  • Tidal / Wave Power
  • Britain's nuclear industry
  • Coal / Carbon Capture
  • Fracking and other energy news
  • Miscellaneous
Britain's greenhouse gas emissions 

March 2016: Rapid decline of coal use leads to lower emissions.Figures show a 4% reduction in the national annual emissions of CO2, with coal now burning at its lowest level in at least 150 years.  The government has pledged to close all coal plants by 2025.  link

January 2016: The UK is facing an unprecedented “energy gap” in a decade’s time, according to engineers, with demand for electricity likely to outstrip supply by more than 40%, which could lead to black outs . New policies to stop unabated coal-fired power generation by 2025, and the phasing out of ageing nuclear reactors without plans in place to build a new fleet of gas-fired electricity plants, will combine to create a supply crunch. link

December 2015: UK cuts to renewable energy make mockery of Paris pledge. UK government, under heavy pressure to row back on its proposed 87% cut to subsidies for solar panels on homes, reduced the cut to 65%, but also imposed a cap on the total subsidy paid out, probably cutting the rate of domestic solar installations to half. Yet this only applies to renewable energy. Nuclear power, whose cost never comes down, will enjoy 35 years of bill paid subsidies to support Hinkley Point, the most expensive power station ever built. link

Imports mask emissions totals. While statistics show that Britain’s emissions are declining, down anywhere from 15% to 21% between 1990 and 2009, if imports of manufactured goods for the British market are included, there has been an actual increase of about 12% according to Professor Robert Watson, the UK government’s chief environmental scientist. link  

March 2015: UK’s emissions drop by a record 9.2%. While the UK lags the rest of the EU on use of renewable energy, carbon emissions dropped by a record 9.2% in 2014. Coal use declined 20%, energy consumption 7%, and thanks to climate change, the country experienced record warm temperatures in 2014, which meant less use of gas for heat. UK emissions are now 28% below 1990 levels, in contrast to the US, which is shooting for 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. The UK's goal is a 50% cut by 2025, and 80% by 2050 from 1990 levels. link

February 2010: Britain's emissions total.  According to Britain’s Department of Energy and Climate Change, the country’s basket of six greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol was estimated to be at 628.3 million metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e). The figure is 1.9% lower than 640.5 million metric tons registered in 2007. The overall decrease was largely attributed to the country’s continued switch from coal to natural gas. Britain’s industries slashed the largest amount of emissions at 7.3%. This was followed by transportation (3%), energy supply (2.9%) and businesses (2.6%). But residential sector emission rose 3.1%. Of all the greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide accounted for 85% of  Britain’s total emissions. Net emission of the gas was estimated at 532.8 million metric tons in 2008 -  2% lower than 543.6 million metric tons in 2007. 

July 2014: UK retains target of 50% emission cuts by 2025. The U.K. will keep a target to cut greenhouse gases by half through 2025, Energy Secretary Ed Davey said, foiling the Treasury’s effort to weaken the target. Britain charts its emissions cuts in five-year carbon budgets. The fourth carbon budget would allow U.K. emissions to total 1,950 million tons of CO2 from 2023 through 2027. That’s 390 million tons a year, half the 780 million tons of greenhouse gas pollution the U.K. emitted in 1990, the base year for the emissions-limiting Kyoto Protocol treaty. link  (September 2016) UK will miss its 2020 renewable energy targets, warn MPs - link

Britain's carbon footprint:
March 2010: A new report shows that 253m tonnes of CO2 are released overseas each year in the manufacture of products bound for the UK, the equivalent of 4.3 tonnes per person. The average per capita carbon footprint for Britain is 9.7 tonnes excluding emissions from imported goods. link.

Wind Power

January 2016: Record-breaking year for wind energy in UK. According to figures, 11% of the UK’s electricity was sourced from wind power in 2015, up from 9.5% the previous year. Overall, wind provided enough electricity to meet the demands of more than 8.25 million homes, almost a third of UK households, compared to 6.7 million homes in 2014. link

November 2013: Huge increase in UK wind installation. The installed capacity of the UK’s offshore wind sector has risen by 79% in a year. In the period from July 2012 to June 2013, capacity increased from 1,858MW to 3,321MW. Onshore and offshore, a total of 2,721 MW were installed between July 2012 and June 2013, taking the UK’s total wind capacity up from 6,856 to 9,710 MW, a 40% increase. link

As of the end of 2014, on-shore wind farm generation provided the equivalent electricity consumption to over 4 million homes. Industry projections see a total of 12-14GW installed by 2020, which would equal 10% of the UK’s total electricity annually. link
[April 2012:, 66% of Britons were in favour and just 8% against when asked: "to what extent are you in favour of or opposed to the use of wind power in the UK". link
]

UK plans for world's largest off-shore wind farms 

November 2014: UK approves 750MW offshore wind project. The U.K. approved construction of one of the biggest offshore wind farms as the country chases a European Union target to get 15% of all energy from renewables by 2020. The consent installation up to 750MW of turbines at the Walney Extension project in the Irish Sea off northwest England’s Cumbria  coast.  link

Britain's off-shore wind energy surges. Industry projections see a total of around 6 GW installed by 2016 and around 10GW by 2020 by which point off-shore wind energy will supply between 8-10% of UK’s electricity annually. link

July 2013: UK greenlights world's biggest off-shore wind farm. New UK wind farm, twice the size of the London Array, approved. The UK government has approved plans for the world’s largest offshore wind farm, a 1200MWproject. With 288 turbines to supply electricity to 820,000 homes. The UK ranks first in the world for offshore wind - with 3.3 GW of installations, it has double the rest of the world combined. link

April 2012: Wales 299MW farm approved. Vattenfall’s planned Pen Y Cymoedd development in South Wales, which when built will be the largest wind farm in England and Wales, consists of 76 wind turbines, and is expected to generate enough power for up to 206,000 homes a year. link 

Small scale wind turbines – Britain taking lead.

Small domestic wind turbines could provide enough clean electricity to power more than 800,000 UK homes, according to the Energy Saving Trust. In the first study of its kind, the EST spent a year monitoring small wind turbines from 500W to 6kW in size, in 57 different urban and rural locations around the UK. Previous studies have suggested that small turbines in residential areas fail to generate enough power to justify their installation. In total, small-scale wind in domestic properties could supply around 3.1% of the UK's energy demand from homes.  
link

In May 2009, Europe's largest onshore wind farm began operation. The 322MW farm, which is already powerful enough to meet Glasgow's electricity needs, is to expand by more than a third as part of a major green energy initiative by Scottish ministers. The announcement came as plans for an even larger scheme, to build a vast community-owned 150 turbine, 540MW scheme on Shetland, were lodged with the Scottish government. Scotland has the theoretical potential to generate 60 gigawatts of green energy, ten times the country's peak demand, because of its geographical position. link     
[More on the Shetlands wind project: link]  

London Array - world's largest off-shore wind farm:

April 2013: Final turbine comes on line making the London Array the world’s largest wind farm at 630MW. Britain has 3,300 megawatts of installed offshore wind capacity, more than the rest of the world combined. It plans to reach 18,000 megawatts by the end of the decade. link      

October 2012: The first power has been generated from the London Array project, around 12 miles off the coasts of Kent and Essex in the Thames Estuary. Eventually 175 turbines will generate enough power to supply more than 470,000 homes. Already 151 turbines have been installed since construction began in March 2011, and when the first phase is completed by the end of 2012, the 630-megawatt scheme will be the largest offshore windfarm in the world. If approved, the second phase will add enough turbines to bring the total capacity of the windfarm to 870MW. link


Solar Power

January 2015: Solar power almost doubled in 2014. By the end of 2014 there was almost 5GW of solar photovoltaic panels installed, up from 2.8GW at the end of 2013.  The solar industry said there were now enough panels installed in the UK to supply the equivalent of 1.5 million homes. link

February 2012: Solar growth achieves 1,000MW in less than 2 years. Explosive growth in solar panel installations on homes, schools and fields in the UK over the past 22 months saw the green energy source pass through the symbolic milestone of 1,000MW on Wednesday. Since the feed-in tariff scheme was launched in April 2010  to pay homeowners and businesses for generating their own green energy, the amount of solar has grown by more than 41 times; it was just 26MW of solar before the scheme. link

April 2011: Solar energy in Britain surges, but still minor source. The total amount of installed solar power in the UK jumped from 26MW from April 2010, to 77.8MW at the end of March 2011. But despite the rise in demand, solar power still contributes only a tiny amount of the UK's total electricity generation,  accounting for just 0.104% of the 75GW provided by fossil fuel, nuclear and large scale renewable power plants. The UK's largest coal fired power station, Drax in Yorkshire, generates approximately 4,000MW. link

Renewables

March 2015: Renewable electricity provided a record 19.2% of power in the UK in 2014. Onshore and offshore wind made up nearly 50% of this total, with both seeing increases in the amount of power generated compared to 2013.  The amount of onshore wind generated increased by 7.9% in 2014, and the amount of offshore wind was up 16.1%. During the last quarter, renewables provided a record 22%. link     

November 2014: Renewable energy overtakes nuclear as Scotland's top power source. Clean, renewable energy sources are now Scotland's number one source of power, according to new figures from the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change. The figures, which include solar, wind, hydro and biomass, showed that renewable energy generated 32% more electricity than any other single source in the first half on 2014. link

April 2014: UK solar commitment. The Department of Energy and Climate Change published a Solar Strategy that prioritizes rooftop solar with a short term target of penetrating the commercial sector and getting solar on a million homes by 2015, double what exists today.   "We have managed to put ourselves among the world leaders on solar and this strategy will help us stay there. There is massive potential to turn our large buildings into power stations and we must seize the opportunity this offers to boost our economy," says Greg Barker, Minister for Energy & Climate Change. link

November 2012: Britain on the 'cusp of an energy renaissance'. link   
(
Update - December 2012 – more renewables, less nuclear. The latest government figures now show only 3.3 gigawatts of new nuclear plant to be built by 2025 and 9.9GW by 2030. This compares with 4.8GW by 2025 and 12GW by 2030 as recorded in its 2011 energy and emissions projections. The department is more optimistic about wind and solar, however, expecting 42GW of renewable power to be in place by 2030 compared with the 33GW projected in the 2011 statistical survey. link

May 2013: Low carbon best bet long-term for Britain. A parliamentary advisory committee has estimated that British households will save 45 billion if the government hitches its electricity supply to low-carbon sources such as wind and nuclear rather than gas. Overturning the general consensus that green electricity is more expensive than gas-generated power, the committee finds that while “decarbonising” the energy supply will cost more in the next few years, the expense will quickly become negligible and will start paying handsome dividends after 2030.  link

May 2009: Wales plans for energy self-sufficiency with renewables in 20 years. The government development plans, which are legally binding, are far in advance of anything planned for England or Scotland. The proposals would make Wales one of only three countries in the world legally bound to develop "sustainability".  link     

September 2010: Scotland should produce enough renewable electricity to meet all its power demand by 2025. The new national target is to generate 80% of electricity from renewables by 2020.  link   Update - June 2013Scotland misses annual carbon target for second year. Ministers insisted that Scotland's overall figures were still the best in Europe, with a near 30% cut in emissions against 1990 levels, but then admitted they had fresh doubts about hitting its tough goal of cutting carbon by 42% by 2020. link  

Tidal - Wave Power

January 2013: An analysis suggests that estuary barrages and tidal streams could provide more than 20% of demand for electricity in the U.K. Despite high costs, experts say tidal power is more reliable than wind. link

December 2015:Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary potential. Representatives from local government on both sides of the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary have signed an agreement to work together to promote, explore and enable the strategic and sustainable development of the region’s vast offshore renewable energy resources. Whilst the region has the potential to contribute as much as 14GW of low carbon energy to the UK’s energy mix, the estuary represents a complex and unique mix of valuable environmental and economic assets, activities and stakeholders. These must be protected and, where possible, enhanced as energy projects are introduced. link   (more on this project on Wave Power page.)

September 2013: Scotland gives green light to Europe’s largest tidal energy project. The largest tidal energy project in Europe can get under way after permission was granted for the first stage in the Pentland Firth. A demonstration project of up to six turbines will be built in the water between Orkney and the Scottish mainland following the decision by the Scottish government. When fully operational, the 86MW array could generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 42,000 homes, around 40% of homes in the Highlands. The site that could eventually yield up to 398 megawatts. link

Britain's nuclear industry

The UK has 15 reactors generating about 18% of its electricity and most of these are to be retired by 2023. In the late 1990s, nuclear power plants contributed around 25% of total annual electricity generation in the UK, but this has gradually declined as old plants have been shut down and ageing-related problems affect plant availability.  link 
(November 2009) Begun in 1956, nuclear energy reached its peak of 26% of the nation's electricity in 1997, and by 2023 only one of the current fleet of reactors will remain open. Nuclear currently generates 19% of Britain’s electricity at 16 reactors in 9 sites around the country. (sites map on this page  

February 2013: Britain’s nuclear power dilemma. Having failed to realize support for new nuclear reactors over recent years, and despite promises that no subsidies would be given, the government is now hedging to backtrack on pledges to guarantee whatever it takes to develop increasing nuclear capacity. The government is launching a last-ditch attempt to sign up energy companies to build new nuclear power stations by proposing to sign contracts guaranteeing subsidies for up to 40 years. link  February 2013: The chances of building any new reactors in the UK are fading fast.  link  

Controversial Hinkley Point project

August 2016: Hinkley Point nuclear update: The government's own projections show  solar and wind power will be cheaper than new nuclear power by the time Hinkley Point C is completed. link (More news on Hinkley in Nuclear section)  July 7 2016: Hinkley Point cost rises to 37bn.  The total lifetime cost of the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant could be as high as 37bn ($48bn), according to an assessment published by UK government. The figure was described as shocking by critics of the scheme, who said it showed just how volatile and uncertain the project had become, given that the same energy department’s estimate 12 months earlier had been 14bn. link

March 2013: The first of a planned new generation of nuclear power plants in the UK has been given approval.  link   Sept. 16 2016:  Hinkley Point: UK approves nuclear plant deal - link

May 2016: Further Hinckley Point problem.The British government has run into a major new problem with its nuclear project, with a UN committee ruling that the UK failed to consult European countries properly over potential environmental risks. link  
(June 17 2016: Latest glitch - EDF’s top managers tell MPs that Hinkley Point should be postponed - link)

March 2016: Hinkley Point C nuclear deal contains 22bn 'poison pill' for taxpayer - link
September 2015: UK nuclear supporters now oppose new construction. Three leading environmentalists who broke ranks to give their support to a new generation of nuclear plants have now urged the government to scrap plans for Hinkley Point C. saying the soaring cost and delays to the project leave ministers with no option but to pour the estimated 24.5bn worth of investment into other low-carbon technologies.
link  (We are pro-nuclear, but Hinkley C must be scrapped - link) 

January 2015: 17.6 billion subsidy for Britain’s new nuclear reactor held up by Austrialink  

Problems facing nuclear industry

March 2012: Flood risks at nuclear sites. As many as 12 of Britain's 19 civil nuclear sites are at risk of flooding and coastal erosion because of climate change. (Pictured at left - Sizewell nuclear power plant in Suffolk..)  Nine of the sites have been assessed by the Environment Department as being vulnerable now, with others in danger from rising sea levels and storms in future decades. Two of the sites for new nuclear stations are said to have a "high risk" of flooding now. Shutdown and running reactors at Dungeness in Kent are also classed as currently at high risk. link

September 2011: Nuclear clean-up will never be completed. Portions of the coast in northern Scotland will remain radioactive for 24,000 years as further attempts to clean up a leak have been abandoned. Tens of thousands of radioactive fuel fragments escaped from the Dounreay plant between 1963 and 1984, polluting local beaches, the coastline and the seabed. Fishing has been banned within a two-kilometre radius of the plant since 1997. link

Sellafield - formerly known as Windscale - Britain's worst-ever nuclear accident.

(January 2015) In the latest setback for the nuclear industry, the waste stored at Sellafield already costs the UK taxpayer 2 billion a year, and it is expected to be at least as much as this every year for half a century. There is still no safe resting place for radioactive rubbish created when nuclear fuel and machinery reaches the end of its life. link

April 2007: Windscale to Sellafield – a history of controversy. Over its half-century of nuclear work, the Sellafield complex, by the village of Seascale on the west Cumbria coast, has attracted the ire of everyone from environmentalists to governments of every political hue in Ireland and Scandinavia. Sellafield's long lifespan has been due to two factors: firstly, the economic importance of the thousands of jobs it generates, and secondly the sheer complexity and expense of decommissioning the nuclear waste-ridden facility. A former second world war munitions factory, it became Britain's first nuclear complex in the late 1940s, and its Calder Hall reactors began generating electricity in 1956. link   [Sellafield is regarded as the most dangerous and polluted industrial site in Western Europe, not least because it houses 120 tonnes of plutonium, the largest civilian stockpile in the world. link]

Britain's worst-ever nuclear accident. It says something for how Britain's nuclear establishment worked from the start that when Windscale No1 Pile caught fire in October 1957, it was hushed up so well that even with 11 tons of uranium ablaze for three days, the reactor close to collapse and radioactive material spreading across the Lake District, the people who worked there were expected to keep quiet and carry on making plutonium for the bomb. link  The history is now told in Sellafield Stories after six decades.

Decommissioning. The BBC reported that it will take over 100 years before the toxic nuclear reprocessing site at Sellafield  is safe. A spokesman for Sellafield Ltd said: "Sellafield isn't a place that can just be closed down. It is about the removal of plant and equipment from the building, it is about decontaminating and knocking them down, that takes decades.  It has been estimated that it will cost 73 bn to decommission all nuclear civilian facilities in the
UK. link   (February 2013) The cost of cleaning up the Sellafield nuclear waste site has reached 67.5bn with no sign of when the cost will stop rising - link
 
May 2011: Sellafield’s Mox problems aggravated by Japan’s disaster. Mox fuel is made by mixing plutonium dioxide retrieved from spent fuel rods with uranium oxide. The promise of lucrative Japanese contracts for Mox fuel was the primary reason the Sellafield Mox plant was finally licensed in 2001 after years of legal wrangling. However, since it was given its operating licence by the previous government, the Mox Plant has been beset by problems. Instead of producing 120 tonnes of fuel a year, it has managed just over 13 tonnes in eight years, at a total cost to the taxpayer of 1.34bn – and a further 800m in future running costs expected this decade. The fuel was intended to be shipped to Hamaoka in Japan which has been described as the world's most dangerous nuclear power facility because it sits on two geological faults. This plant may probably be shut down. Meanwhile, the severe production problems at the Sellafield Mox Plant have meant that the first fuel shipments would not be delivered until at least the end of the decade, more than 10 years behind schedule. The Mox plant, which has been described as one of the biggest disasters in Britain's industrial history. link

May 2009: Thorp nuclear reprocessing plant to close. Sellafield Ltd, the company that runs Thorp, admitted that it may have to close for several years owing to a series of technical problems. The huge 1.8bn plant imports spent nuclear fuel from around the world and returns it to countries as new reactor fuel. But a series of catastrophic technical failures with associated equipment means Thorp could be mothballed at a cost of millions of pounds. link  [Sellafield to close in 2018 - link]

Coal  /  Carbon capture

December 2012: The decline of the UK coal industry. At its peak, the British coal industry employed over a million men in 1908 (today 6,000), and was one of the most important industries in the UK. Transport, power and related industries were all heavily reliant on coal. Even in the mid 1960s, British Rail was still running on coal power (steam). In the 1970s, a strike by coal miners left Britain on the infamous three day week. Coal was Britain’s life blood, and without it, the economy could come to a standstill. The decline of the British coal industry started after the First World War, but was accelerated after the Second World War, and in particular, after the miners’ strike of 1984. Between 1923 and 1945, employment in the industry fell from 1.2 to 0.8 million, and the British share of the world coal market dropped from 59% to 37%. link

For a few hours on May 10 2016, there was zero electricity generation from coal in Britain for the first time since generation began in 1882 with the construction of the UK’s first coal plant. Coal was Britain's biggest power source as recently as 2013 but is becoming increasingly unprofitable due to the carbon tax and low gas prices that favour burning gas, and the expansion of subsidised renewable sources like wind power. link

July 2016: Carbon capture cut will cost Britain 30bn. The government’s cancellation of a pioneering 1bn competition to capture and store carbon emissions may have pushed up the bill for meeting the UK’s climate targets by 30bn. The government decided the competition was aiming to deliver CCS before it was necessary and cost-efficient to do so. link

In the UK approximately 30% of electricity supply in 2014 came from coal-fired power stations. In November 2015 the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change announced proposals, subject to consultation, to close the remaining coal-fired power stations by 2025. link

Britain has long been dependent upon coal mining as an industry. Since the 1970s the industry declined to where now 75% of coal is imported. In April 2009, the government gave the go-ahead for a new generation of coal-fired power plants - but only if they can prove they can reduce their emissions. Up to four new plants will be built if they are fitted with technology to trap and store CO2 emissions underground. The technology is not yet proven and would only initially apply to 25% of power stations' output. In 2008 coal power stations provided 31% of the UK's electricity but a third of them are due to close in the next ten years. link      

April 2012: Carbon capture in UK under threat as study raises doubts. Serious doubts have been raised over the prospects for carbon capture and storage in the UK in the first comprehensive investigation into the technology, just two weeks after the government launched a 1 billion competition to build the first demonstration plant. The finding by the government-funded UK Energy Research Council endangers many of the government's assumptions on tackling climate change because ministers' long-term plans rely heavily on making the untried technique work on a massive scale. CCS is designed to lower the of carbon emissions of fossil fuel power stations. Jim Watson, lead author of the report, said: "People assumed that CCS would be straightforward, but it has not been. It is a particularly challenging technology – it's actually very, very difficult." Long delays have already plagued attempts to get CCS off the ground in the UK. The Treasury's initial plan for companies and consortiums to compete for a 1bn funding pot for a first demonstration plant was set out more than five years ago – but late last year it collapsed when the final potential entry withdrew.  On 3 April, ministers unveiled a new competition. link

October  2010: E.On UK withdraws its Kingsnorth project from the competition saying it is uneconomic. link  Scottish Power's Longannet project in Fife was the only entrant in the government's CCS competition. That plan collapsed October 2011 when the project was cancelled (see CCS page for more).

Fracking in Britain

Halting progress for fracking in England

May 2016: Fracking tests in North Yorkshire move step closer in face of protests - link 
June 2016: UK fracking firm plans to dump wastewater in the sea - link 

August 2015: Fracking debate heats up. Weighing up whether fracking is bad depends on how you define “bad”. Fracking has given America gas prices that are far cheaper than in Europe but what most critics point to, of course, are the potential health and environmental impacts.  link

January 2015: David Cameron says the UK government is “going all out” for fracking link
July 2015: Another 16-monthy delay for Caudrilla in Lancashire announced - link

In May 2012, the British Government rejected shale gas technology as a solution to Britain's energy crisis, conceding it will do little to cut bills or keep the lights on. Industry experts made clear at a meeting attended by senior ministers that the UK's reserves were smaller than first thought and could be uneconomical to extract. link  Then in December 2012, Britain’s Energy Secretary said the current moratorium on shale gas production, which was put in place after fracking caused two small earthquakes near Blackpool in 2011 would end. link  In the summer of 2013, protesters clashed with police in Balcombe, West Sussex, over Cuadrilla's test drilling site. (Cuadrilla is drilling a 3,000ft vertical well and a 2,500ft horizontal bore south of the village in a search for oil.)  link

Experts assess the pros and cons of fracking in the UK.   
(
September 2013)The shale gas and fracking revolution has become a hot topic of conversation within the British politics and energy arenas. The prospect of potential long-term fracking has divided the nation causing protests with celebrity endorsements and test drilling exploration in Balcombe. Opinions and accusations have ben published which leaves the neutrals unsure who to believe. Its supporters will state that fracking will deliver cheaper energy, provide many jobs and create economic recovery. Its opponents will explain that the process can trigger earthquakes, pollute water supplies and create waste whilst adding to the addiction and obsession of fossil fuels. Whilst the two opinions have come to loggerheads the government is keen on potentially throwing caution to the wind as test drills have now being conducted by energy firm Quadrilla. Inlec UK Ltd offer this article (Fracking – Is this the Future of UK Energy?) which discusses the pros and cons of fracking and highlights the differences in opinions amongst experts.  (January 2014: Public support for fracking in Britain continues to fall – link)

September 2013: Caudrilla applies for new licences. The company at the heart of the anti-fracking protests in Sussex is applying for new licences to drill for oil in the local area, to the fury of campaigners, and is planning to reopen its Lancashire operations within weeks. The Balcombe site was first drilled for oil by Conoco in the 1980s, but was found to be not economically viable. link  (October 2013: Caudrilla pulls out of Lancashire drilling - link) Jan. 2014: Caudrilla pulls out of Balcombe link

November 2011: Shale gas push would wreck UK's climate change targets. As in the U.S., shale gas obtained through fracking, is viewed as an energy solution. But burning it for fuel results in large-scale CO2 emissions, and in a report commissioned by the Cooperative Group, scientists warned that exploiting even a minor proportion of this gas would generate so much CO2 that the government's greenhouse gas emissions targets would be rendered unreachable. Exploiting even one-fifth of the Lancashire shale gas reserves alone would produce about 15% of the total CO2 that the UK can produce between now and 2050, if government targets are to be adhered to. Those targets state that CO2 emissions are to be cut by 80% by 2050. link

September 2013: Fracking would lower energy prices is baseless, says Lord Stern - link
"No Dash For Gas" - web site   

Miscellaneous

May 2016: London’s new mayor joins air pollution court case against UK government. Overturning the position of his predecessor, Boris Johnson, Sadiq Khan filed legal documents and can now submit a witness statement and evidence to the court on the air pollution crisis in the capital. Environmental lawyers are suing the government for the second time in a year, having won a case at the supreme court in 2015 which ordered ministers to fulfil their legal duty to cut pollution in “the shortest time possible”. The new case argues the government is still failing to do this. link

July 2012 - analysis - power crisis likely to occur by 2018. As old nuclear and coal power stations are likely to be turned off after 2017, sometime in 2018 or shortly thereafter, the UK will experience a crisis. Electricity supply will not be enough to meet demand. So a government that simply wanted to produce a lot more electricity without producing a lot more greenhouse gas would likely favour onshore wind technology. In fact, onshore wind is the government's least favoured option. link

August 2013: UK homes use 25% less energy over 6 years.The average home energy usage in England and Wales fell by 24.7% between 2005 and 2011, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Across England and Wales, average household energy consumption fell from 26.2 megawatt hours (mWh) in 2005 to 19.7mWh in 2011. link

June 2012: Ghost power consuming more energy than thought. A report commissioned by the government and the Energy Saving Trust to unearth the nation's energy habits, found that up to 16% of households' energy bills are spent on devices left on standby. It is estimated that domestic energy use accounts for more than a quarter of the nation's CO2 emissions. "This standby power is double what we have assumed it to be in past models and policy assumptions," explained Paula Owen, the report's lead author. "Before, we have always gone with an 8% figure so it was quite a shock." The modern home contained an average of 41 devices, compared with a dozen or so in the 1970s. link

Zero Carbon Britain: Academics in Britain have come together under the banner ‘Zero Carbon Britain’ to map out how fossil fuels could be eliminated within 20 years without resource to nuclear power. An updated report (June 2010) report that shows how Britain could eliminate emissions by 2030 link  November 2014: Recycling rates flatlined. Households appear to have given up trying to recycle more of their rubbish, official statistics suggest, which show that recycling rates in England have stalled at  44.2%. The European target of recycling 50% of waste by 2020 will probably be missed.. link
              
Recycling breakthrough. WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) says recycling in 2006 saved 18 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of taking five million cars off the road. In Leicestershire, Biffa (an integrated waste management business) is building a system for turning rubbish into electricity; anything organic in the city's rubbish - old pizza boxes, food scraps, dirty paper - gets pulverized in a deafening, dark and smelly hall.  link


We highly recommend the Guardian Environment web page: link 
Also recommended is the BBC’s Green Room:  link 

* Arctic Britain link:  
July 2015
 – Scientists have yet again warned that weakening ocean circulation in the North Atlantic could deliver a climate paradox, a colder Europe as a consequence of global warming.  link
 

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