Energy policy of the United Kingdom

Energy policy of the United Kingdom

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For energy use in practice, see Energy use and conservation in the United Kingdom
Energy use and conservation in the United Kingdom
Energy use in the United Kingdom stood at 3,894.6 kilogrammes of oil equivalent per capita in 2005 compared to a world average of 1,778.0. In 2008, total energy consumed was 9.85 exajoules - around 2% of the estimated 474 EJ worldwide total...


The current energy policy of the United Kingdom is set out in the Energy White Paper of May 2007 and Low Carbon Transition Plan of July 2009, building on previous work including the 2003 Energy White Paper and the Energy Review Report in 2006. It is led by the Department of Energy and Climate Change
Department of Energy and Climate Change
The Department of Energy and Climate Change is a British government department created on 3 October 2008 by Prime Minister Gordon Brown to take over some of the functions of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs...

, currently headed by Chris Huhne
Chris Huhne
Christopher Murray Paul-Huhne, generally known as Chris Huhne is a British politician and cabinet minister, who is the current Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for the Eastleigh constituency in Hampshire...

.

Overview


The 2007 White Paper: “Meeting the Energy Challenge” sets out the Government’s international and domestic energy strategy to address the long term energy challenges faced by the UK, and to deliver 4 key policy goals:
  1. To put the UK on a path to cut carbon dioxide emissions by some 60% by about 2050, with real progress by 2020;
  2. To maintain reliable energy supplies
    Energy security
    Energy security is a term for an association between national security and the availability of natural resources for energy consumption. Access to cheap energy has become essential to the functioning of modern economies. However, the uneven distribution of energy supplies among countries has led...

    ;
  3. To promote competitive markets in the UK and beyond, helping to raise the rate of sustainable economic growth
    Sustainable development
    Sustainable development is a pattern of resource use, that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come...

     and to improve productivity
    Productivity
    Productivity is a measure of the efficiency of production. Productivity is a ratio of what is produced to what is required to produce it. Usually this ratio is in the form of an average, expressing the total output divided by the total input...

    ; and
  4. To ensure that every home
    Home
    A home is a place of residence or refuge. When it refers to a building, it is usually a place in which an individual or a family can rest and store personal property. Most modern-day households contain sanitary facilities and a means of preparing food. Animals have their own homes as well, either...

     is adequately and affordably heated.


The scope of energy policy includes the production
Electricity generation
Electricity generation is the process of generating electric energy from other forms of energy.The fundamental principles of electricity generation were discovered during the 1820s and early 1830s by the British scientist Michael Faraday...

 and distribution
Electricity distribution
File:Electricity grid simple- North America.svg|thumb|380px|right|Simplified diagram of AC electricity distribution from generation stations to consumers...

 of electricity
Electricity
Electricity is a general term encompassing a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. These include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning, static electricity, and the flow of electrical current in an electrical wire...

, transport
Transport
Transport or transportation is the movement of people, cattle, animals and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations...

 fuel
Fuel
Fuel is any material that stores energy that can later be extracted to perform mechanical work in a controlled manner. Most fuels used by humans undergo combustion, a redox reaction in which a combustible substance releases energy after it ignites and reacts with the oxygen in the air...

 usage, and means of heating (significantly Natural Gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

).
The policy recognises: "Energy is essential in almost every aspect of our lives and for the success of our economy
Economy
An economy consists of the economic system of a country or other area; the labor, capital and land resources; and the manufacturing, trade, distribution, and consumption of goods and services of that area...

. We face two long-term energy challenges:
  • Tackling climate change
    Mitigation of global warming
    Climate change mitigation is action to decrease the intensity of radiative forcing in order to reduce the potential effects of global warming. Mitigation is distinguished from adaptation to global warming, which involves acting to tolerate the effects of global warming...

     by reducing carbon dioxide emissions both within the UK and abroad; and
  • Ensuring secure
    Energy security
    Energy security is a term for an association between national security and the availability of natural resources for energy consumption. Access to cheap energy has become essential to the functioning of modern economies. However, the uneven distribution of energy supplies among countries has led...

    , clean and affordable
    Fuel poverty
    A household is said to be in fuel poverty when they cannot afford to keep adequately warm at reasonable cost, given it's income. The term is mainly used in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand, although the concept also applies everywhere in the world where poverty may be present.As the term fuel...

     energy as we become increasingly dependent on imported fuel."


The policy also recognises that the UK will need around 30-35GW of new electricity generation capacity over the next two decades as many of the UK’s current coal and nuclear power stations, built in the 1960s and 1970s, reach the end of their lives and are set to close.

The 2006 Energy Review reintroduced the prospect of new nuclear power stations in the UK. However, following a judicial review
Judicial review
Judicial review is the doctrine under which legislative and executive actions are subject to review by the judiciary. Specific courts with judicial review power must annul the acts of the state when it finds them incompatible with a higher authority...

 requested by Greenpeace
Greenpeace
Greenpeace is a non-governmental environmental organization with offices in over forty countries and with an international coordinating body in Amsterdam, The Netherlands...

, on February 15, 2007 elements of the 2006 Energy Review were ruled 'seriously flawed', and 'not merely inadequate but also misleading'. As a result, plans to build a new generation of nuclear power plant
Nuclear power plant
A nuclear power plant is a thermal power station in which the heat source is one or more nuclear reactors. As in a conventional thermal power station the heat is used to generate steam which drives a steam turbine connected to a generator which produces electricity.Nuclear power plants are usually...

s were ruled illegal at that time. (See Nuclear power in the United Kingdom for details). In response, the Government ran “The Future of Nuclear Power” consultation from May to October 2007. The Government’s response to the consultation conclusions, published in January 2008, state “set against the challenges of climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

 and security
Energy security
Energy security is a term for an association between national security and the availability of natural resources for energy consumption. Access to cheap energy has become essential to the functioning of modern economies. However, the uneven distribution of energy supplies among countries has led...

 of supply, the evidence in support of new nuclear power stations is compelling.”

The January 2008 Energy Bill updates the legislative framework
Legislation
Legislation is law which has been promulgated by a legislature or other governing body, or the process of making it...

 in the UK to reflect their current policy towards the energy market
Energy market
Energy markets are those commodities markets that deal specifically with the trade and supply of energy. Energy market may refer to an electricity market, but can also refer to other sources of energy...

 and the challenges faced on climate change and security of supply. Key elements of the bill address nuclear, carbon capture and storage
Carbon capture and storage
Carbon capture and storage , alternatively referred to as carbon capture and sequestration, is a technology to prevent large quantities of from being released into the atmosphere from the use of fossil fuel in power generation and other industries. It is often regarded as a means of mitigating...

, renewables, and offshore gas and oil
North Sea oil
North Sea oil is a mixture of hydrocarbons, comprising liquid oil and natural gas, produced from oil reservoirs beneath the North Sea.In the oil industry, the term "North Sea" often includes areas such as the Norwegian Sea and the area known as "West of Shetland", "the Atlantic Frontier" or "the...

. A framework to encourage investment in nuclear power
Nuclear power
Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world's energy and 13–14% of the world's electricity, with the U.S., France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity...

 within a new regulatory environment was simultaneously published in the January 2008 Nuclear White Paper.

In October 2008, the Government created the Department of Energy and Climate Change
Department of Energy and Climate Change
The Department of Energy and Climate Change is a British government department created on 3 October 2008 by Prime Minister Gordon Brown to take over some of the functions of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs...

 to bring together energy policy (previously with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform
Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform
The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform was a United Kingdom government department. The department was created on 28 June 2007 on the disbanding of the Department of Trade and Industry , and was itself disbanded on 6 June 2009 on the creation of the Department for Business,...

), and climate change mitigation policy (previously with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is the government department responsible for environmental protection, food production and standards, agriculture, fisheries and rural communities in the United Kingdom...

).

Scotland


Though energy policy is an area reserved
Reserved powers
Reserved powers can refer to several powers of a central authority:*Reserved powers, or Reserved matters, are those subjects still dealt with by the United Kingdom Parliament, and not devolved to the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales or the Northern Ireland Assembly*Reserved powers,...

 to the UK government under the Scotland Act 1998
Scotland Act 1998
The Scotland Act 1998 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is the Act which established the devolved Scottish Parliament.The Act will be amended by the Scotland Bill 2011, if and when it receives royal assent.-History:...

 that established devolved government for Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, the Scottish Government has an energy policy for Scotland
Energy policy of Scotland
Energy policy in Scotland is a matter that has been specifically reserved to the UK parliament under the terms of the Scotland Act 1998 that created the devolved Scottish Parliament...

 at variance with UK policy, and has planning powers to enable it to put its policy priorities into effect.

1980s market liberalisation


Under the Conservatives
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 during the 1980s and 1990s, Government policy was one of market liberalisation
Liberalization
In general, liberalization refers to a relaxation of previous government restrictions, usually in areas of social or economic policy. In some contexts this process or concept is often, but not always, referred to as deregulation...

 linked to the privatisation
Privatization
Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector to the private sector or to private non-profit organizations...

 of state controlled energy companies and the dismantling of the Department of Energy
Department of Energy (United Kingdom)
The Department of Energy was a department of the United Kingdom Government. The Department was established in January 1974, when the responsibility for energy production was transferred away from the Department of Trade and Industry in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis and with the importance of...

.

As a consequence, Government no longer has the ability to directly control the energy markets. Regulation is now carried out through the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets
Office of Gas and Electricity Markets
The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets , supporting the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority , is the government regulator for the electricity and downstream natural gas markets in Great Britain...

 (OFGEM), while energy policy is largely limited to influencing the operation of the market. Such influence is exerted through taxation (such as North Sea Oil Tax http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4500540.stm), subsidy (such as the Renewables Obligation), incentives, planning controls, the underwriting of liabilities (such as those carried by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is a non-departmental public body of the United Kingdom formed by the Energy Act 2004. It came into existence in late 2004, and took on its main functions on 1 April 2005...

), grants, and funding for research.

An accomplishment of this liberalisation and privatisation has been a marked decrease in energy intensity
Energy intensity
]Energy intensity is a measure of the energy efficiency of a nation's economy. It is calculated as units of energy per unit of GDP.* High energy intensities indicate a high price or cost of converting energy into GDP....

, the measure of energy consumed per unit of GDP output.. Another goal attained has been continuing its tradition of energy supply reliability (measured as distribution and delivery on the electric and natural gas grids); among European countries
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, the United Kingdom is second only to the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 in reliability features.. However, there has also been a substantial increase of the population in Fuel poverty
Fuel poverty
A household is said to be in fuel poverty when they cannot afford to keep adequately warm at reasonable cost, given it's income. The term is mainly used in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand, although the concept also applies everywhere in the world where poverty may be present.As the term fuel...

 since liberalisation ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8317020.stm )

Energy market


A Research and Markets review estimated the 2006 total market value of UK inland energy consumption was GBP 130.73bn. Consumption by the energy sector was valued at GBP 28.73bn, while the value of consumption by the non-energy sector was GBP 128.2bn, with transport
Transport
Transport or transportation is the movement of people, cattle, animals and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations...

 being the largest component of the non-energy sector.

Primary energy sources



Historically a country emphasising its coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

, nuclear
Nuclear power
Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world's energy and 13–14% of the world's electricity, with the U.S., France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity...

 and off-shore natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

 production, the United Kingdom is currently in transition to become a net energy importer.

In the year 2007 the percentage of primary energy
Primary energy
Primary energy is an energy form found in nature that has not been subjected to any conversion or transformation process. It is energy contained in raw fuels, and other forms of energy received as input to a system...

 derived from major sources was as follows:
  • Oil
    Oil
    An oil is any substance that is liquid at ambient temperatures and does not mix with water but may mix with other oils and organic solvents. This general definition includes vegetable oils, volatile essential oils, petrochemical oils, and synthetic oils....

    : 38.0%
  • Natural gas
    Natural gas
    Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

    : 37.7%
  • Coal
    Coal
    Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

    : 16.7%
  • Nuclear power
    Nuclear power
    Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world's energy and 13–14% of the world's electricity, with the U.S., France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity...

    : 5.8%
  • Renewable: 1.8%.

Coal


Coal usage may be expected to decline steadily because of eroding cost advantages and pressure to reduce sulphur and carbon (carbon dioxide) emissions, notwithstanding ongoing subsidy policies designed to retain jobs in the coal mining
Coal mining
The goal of coal mining is to obtain coal from the ground. Coal is valued for its energy content, and since the 1880s has been widely used to generate electricity. Steel and cement industries use coal as a fuel for extraction of iron from iron ore and for cement production. In the United States,...

 industry. Future coal usage is highly dependent on legislative drivers on emissions and the need to have security of supply. Whilst the costs of burning coal with desulphurisation and carbon capture facilities is greatly increased, it is still being actively considered as part of the UK energy strategy due to large domestic reserves, higher price stability than natural gas and reduced capital expenditure and construction time for plant compared to nuclear power.

The 2002 Energy Review concluded that the option of new investment in clean coal technology
Clean coal technology
Clean coal technology is a collection of technologies being developed to reduce the environmental impact of coal energy generation. When coal is used as a fuel source, the gaseous emmissions generated by the thermal decomposition of the coal, include sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon...

 (through carbon sequestration) needed to be kept open, and that practical measures should be taken to do this http://web.archive.org/web/20030224215647/www.piu.gov.uk/2002/energy/report/3.html.

Gas


During the 1980s and early 1990s, there was a massive expansion in gas-fired
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

 generation capacity, known as the Dash for Gas
Dash for Gas
The Dash for Gas was the significant shift by the newly privatized electric companies in the United Kingdom towards generation of electricity using natural gas during the 1990s....

. The rapidity of construction of gas-fired plants (compared to coal-fired or nuclear plants) was especially attractive due to the high interest rates of the period.

Natural gas looks set to take a smaller part in providing future UK energy needs. Domestic production from the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 gas fields continues to lessen. And despite investment to enhance pipelines
Pipeline transport
Pipeline transport is the transportation of goods through a pipe. Most commonly, liquids and gases are sent, but pneumatic tubes that transport solid capsules using compressed air are also used....

 and storage of imported natural gas (Mostly from Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

) there is a reluctance to allow too great a reliance on Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and its gas exports for energy needs.

By the year 2021, North Sea oil and natural gas production is predicted to slip 75 percent from 2005 levels to less than one million barrels per year. Oil and coal reserves for all of Europe are among the most tenuous in the developed world: for example, Europe's reserves to annual consumption ratio stands at 3.0, perilously low by world standards.

Nuclear Power


Following the UK Government's January 2008 decision to support the building of new nuclear power stations, EDF announced that it plans to open four new plants in the UK by 2017. EON and Centrica have also shown interest in building further plants. However, Scotland's First Minister
First Minister
A First Minister is the leader of a government cabinet.-Canada:In Canada, "First Ministers" is a collective term that refers to all Canadian first ministers of the Crown, otherwise known as heads of government, including the Prime Minister of Canada and the provincial and territorial premiers...

 Alex Salmond
Alex Salmond
Alexander Elliot Anderson "Alex" Salmond MSP is a Scottish politician and current First Minister of Scotland. He became Scotland's fourth First Minister in May 2007. He is the Leader of the Scottish National Party , having served as Member of the Scottish Parliament for Gordon...

 has said there is "no chance" of more nuclear power stations being built in Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 as the Scottish Government is opposed. For details of UK Government policy on nuclear power see Nuclear power in the United Kingdom
Nuclear power in the United Kingdom
Nuclear power currently generates around a sixth of the United Kingdom's electricity. As of 2011, the United Kingdom operates 19 nuclear reactors at nine locations...


Renewables


The UK Government's goal for renewable energy
Renewable energy
Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable . About 16% of global final energy consumption comes from renewables, with 10% coming from traditional biomass, which is mainly used for heating, and 3.4% from...

 production is to produce 20% of electricity in the UK by the year 2020. The 2002 Energy Review http://web.archive.org/web/20030224215647/www.piu.gov.uk/2002/energy/report/3.html set a target of 10% to be in place by 2010/2011. The target was increased to 15% by 2015 and most recently the 2006 Energy Review further set a target of 20% by 2020.

For Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, the Scottish Executive
Scottish Executive
The Scottish Government is the executive arm of the devolved government of Scotland. It was established in 1999 as the Scottish Executive, from the extant Scottish Office, and the term Scottish Executive remains its legal name under the Scotland Act 1998...

 has a target of generating 17% to 18% of electricity from renewables by 2010 http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/1050/0002275.pdf, rising to 80% by 2020 http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2010/09/23134359. Renewables located in Scotland count towards both the Scottish target and to the overall target for the UK.

Energy end usage

See main article Energy use and conservation in the United Kingdom
Energy use and conservation in the United Kingdom
Energy use in the United Kingdom stood at 3,894.6 kilogrammes of oil equivalent per capita in 2005 compared to a world average of 1,778.0. In 2008, total energy consumed was 9.85 exajoules - around 2% of the estimated 474 EJ worldwide total...


Year 2005 UK end use energy percentage is approximately:
  • Transport
    Transport
    Transport or transportation is the movement of people, cattle, animals and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations...

    : 35%
  • Space heating
    Space heating
    A space heater is a self-contained device for heating an enclosed area. Space heating is generally employed to warm a small space, and is usually held in contrast with central heating, which warms many connected spaces at once...

    : 26%
  • Industrial
    Industry
    Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...

    : 10%
  • Water heating
    Water heating
    Water heating is a thermodynamic process using an energy source to heat water above its initial temperature. Typical domestic uses of hot water are for cooking, cleaning, bathing, and space heating...

    : 8%
  • Lighting
    Lighting
    Lighting or illumination is the deliberate application of light to achieve some practical or aesthetic effect. Lighting includes the use of both artificial light sources such as lamps and light fixtures, as well as natural illumination by capturing daylight...

    /small electrics: 6%

There is a steady increase of fuel usage driven by an increasingly affluent and mobile population, so that fuel use increased by ten percent in the decade ending 2000. This trend is expected to be mitigated by increased percentage of more efficient diesel and hybrid vehicle
Hybrid vehicle
A hybrid vehicle is a vehicle that uses two or more distinct power sources to move the vehicle. The term most commonly refers to hybrid electric vehicles , which combine an internal combustion engine and one or more electric motors.-Power:...

s.

United Kingdom space and hot water heating consume a greater share of end use compared to the USA and more mild southern Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an or tropical climate
Climate
Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...

s. With regard to building and planning issues affecting energy use, the UK has developed guidance documents to promote energy conservation
Energy conservation
Energy conservation refers to efforts made to reduce energy consumption. Energy conservation can be achieved through increased efficient energy use, in conjunction with decreased energy consumption and/or reduced consumption from conventional energy sources...

 through local councils, especially as set forth in Part L of the Building Regulations (Conservation of Fuel and power)http://www.odpm.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1164177. The associated document. Part 2B, addresses commercial uses, and is generally complete as to heating issues; the guidance is lacking on lighting issues, except with guidelines for local switching of lighting controls. In particular there are no standards set forth for illumination levels, and over-illumination
Over-illumination
Over-illumination is the presence of lighting intensity beyond that required for a specified activity. Over-illumination was commonly ignored between 1950 and 1995, especially in office and retail environments; only since then has the interior design community begun to reconsider this practice.The...

 is one of the most significant unneeded costs of commercial energy use.

Carbon emissions reduction


Joining over 170 other nations the UK has committed to reduction of carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

 emissions, with consequent constraints to its energy policy
Energy policy
Energy policy is the manner in which a given entity has decided to address issues of energy development including energy production, distribution and consumption...

. The UK produces four percent of the world’s greenhouse gas
Greenhouse gas
A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

es as of 2003, compared to 23 percent by the US and 20 percent for the rest of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. The long term reduction goal for carbon emissions is 60 percent decrease by the year 2050. A scheme of trading for carbon emission credits has been developed in Europe that will allow some of the reduction to arise from economic transactions.

Road transport emissions reduction has been stimulated since 1999 by the banding of Vehicle Excise Duty
Vehicle excise duty
Vehicle Excise Duty is a vehicle road use tax levied as an excise duty which must be paid for most types of vehicle which are to be used on the public roads in the United Kingdom...

. Bands for new vehicles are based on the results of a laboratory test, designed to calculate the theoretical potential emissions of the vehicle in grammes of CO2 per kilometre travelled, under ideal conditions.

Average carbon emissions fell from 192 to 172 grams/mile between 1995 and 2004. Aviation fuel
Aviation fuel
Aviation fuel is a specialized type of petroleum-based fuel used to power aircraft. It is generally of a higher quality than fuels used in less critical applications, such as heating or road transport, and often contains additives to reduce the risk of icing or explosion due to high temperatures,...

 is not regulated under the Kyoto Protocol
Kyoto Protocol
The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change , aimed at fighting global warming...

, so that if the UK is successful in carbon emission reduction, aviation
Aviation
Aviation is the design, development, production, operation, and use of aircraft, especially heavier-than-air aircraft. Aviation is derived from avis, the Latin word for bird.-History:...

 will constitute 25 percent of UK generated greenhouse gas
Greenhouse gas
A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

es by the year 2030.

The UK government has one project in the planning stage for natural gas fed power generation with carbon capture by seawater. This facility is contemplated at Peterhead
Peterhead
Peterhead is a town in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It is Aberdeenshire's biggest settlement , with a population of 17,947 at the 2001 Census and estimated to have fallen to 17,330 by 2006....

, Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, a relatively remote exposure to the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

.

Climate Change Act



On March 13, 2007, a draft Climate Change Bill was published following cross-party pressure over several years, led by environmental groups. The Act puts in place a framework to achieve a mandatory 80% cut in the UK's carbon emissions by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels), with an intermediate target of between 26% and 32% by 2020. The Bill was passed into law in November 2008. With its passing the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to set such a long-range and significant carbon reduction target into law, or to create such a legally binding framework.

The Committee on Climate Change
Committee on Climate Change
The Committee on Climate Change is an independent body which advises the UK Government on tackling and preparing for climate change. The Committee provides advice on setting carbon budgets , and reports regularly to Parliament on the progress made in...

, whose powers are invested by Part 2 of the Act, was formally launched in December 2008 with Lord Adair Turner
Adair Turner, Baron Turner of Ecchinswell
Jonathan Adair Turner, Baron Turner of Ecchinswell is a British businessman, academic and chairman of both the Financial Services Authority and the Committee on Climate Change. He was formerly chairman of the Pensions Commission...

 as its chair.

In April 2009 the Government set a requirement for a 34% cut in emissions by 2020, in line with the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change, and announced that details of how this would be achieved would be published in the summer.

Analysis


Prof Kevin Anderson raised concern about the growing effect of air transport on the climate in a paper
and a presentation
in 2008. Anderson holds a Chair in Energy and Climate Change at the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering at the University of Manchester
University of Manchester
The University of Manchester is a public research university located in Manchester, United Kingdom. It is a "red brick" university and a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive British universities and the N8 Group...

 in the UK.
He has pointed out that even at a reduced annual rate of increase in UK passenger air travel and with the government's targeted emissions reductions in other energy use sectors, by 2030 aviation would be causing 70% of the UK's allowable CO2 emissions.

The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan


Published on July 15, 2009, the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan details the actions to be taken to cut carbon emissions by 34% by 2020, based on 1990 levels (of which 21% had been achieved at the time of publication). As a result, by 2020 is it envisaged that:
  • Over 1.2 million people will be employed in green jobs.
  • The efficiency of 7 million homes will have been upgraded, with over 1.5 million of them generating renewable energy.
  • 40% of electricity will be generated from low carbon sources (renewables, nuclear power and clean coal).
  • Gas imports will be 50% lower than would otherwise have been the case.
  • The average new car will emit 40% less carbon compared to 2009 levels.

Renewable energy


The first targets for renewable energy, 5% of by the end of 2003 and 10% by 2010 'subject to the cost to consumers being acceptable' were set by Helen Liddell
Helen Liddell
Helen Lawrie Liddell, Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke is a British Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament for Monklands East from 1994 to 1997, and then for Airdrie and Shotts until 2005, whereafter she became the British High Commissioner to Australia until 2009...

 in 2000.

The 2003 Energy White Paper revised the established goals for UK renewable sources to 10% of electricity generation by 2010 and 20% by 2020, though by 2007 the then Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks
Malcolm Wicks
Malcolm Hunt Wicks is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Croydon North since 1997. He was MP for Croydon North West from 1992 to 1997.-Early life and education:...

 indicated that by 2020 the figure has 'got to be somewhere between 10% and 15%'.

Subsequently the Low Carbon Transition Plan of 2009 made clear that by 2020 the UK would need to produce 30% of its electricity from renewableshttp://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/pn081/pn081.aspx

Although renewable energy
Renewable energy
Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable . About 16% of global final energy consumption comes from renewables, with 10% coming from traditional biomass, which is mainly used for heating, and 3.4% from...

 sources have not played a major role in the UK historically, there is potential for significant use of tidal power
Tidal power
Tidal power, also called tidal energy, is a form of hydropower that converts the energy of tides into useful forms of power - mainly electricity....

 and wind energy
Wind energy
Wind energy is the kinetic energy of air in motion; see also wind power.Total wind energy flowing through an imaginary area A during the time t is:E = ½ m v2 = ½ v 2...

 (both on-shore and off-shore) as recognised by formal UK policies, including the Energy White Paper and directives to councils in the form of PPS 22. The Renewables Obligation
Renewables Obligation
The Renewables Obligation is designed to encourage generation of electricity from eligible renewable sources in the United Kingdom. It was introduced in England and Wales and in a different form in Scotland in April 2002 and in Northern Ireland in April 2005, replacing the Non-Fossil Fuel...

 acts as the central mechanism for support of renewable sources of electricity in the UK, and should provide subsidies approaching one billion pounds sterling per annum by 2010. A number of other grants and smaller support mechanisms aim to support less established renewables. In addition, renewables have been exempted from the Climate Change Levy
Climate Change Levy
The Climate Change Levy is a tax on energy delivered to non-domestic users in the United Kingdom. Its aim is to provide an incentive to increase energy efficiency and to reduce carbon emissions, however there have been ongoing calls to replace it with a proper carbon tax.-Scope and...

 that affects all other energy sources.

The amount of renewable generation added in the year 2004 was 250 megawatts and 500 megawatts in 2005. There is also a program established for micro-generation (less than 50 KWe (kilowatt electrical) or 45 KWt (kilowatt thermal) from a low carbon source) as well as a solar
Solar cell
A solar cell is a solid state electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect....

 voltaic program. By comparison both Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 have photovoltaic (solar cell) programmes much larger than the installed base in the UK. Hydroelectric energy is not a viable option for most of the UK due to terrain and lack of force of river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

s.

The government has established a goal of five percent of the total transport
Transport
Transport or transportation is the movement of people, cattle, animals and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations...

 fuel
Fuel
Fuel is any material that stores energy that can later be extracted to perform mechanical work in a controlled manner. Most fuels used by humans undergo combustion, a redox reaction in which a combustible substance releases energy after it ignites and reacts with the oxygen in the air...

 that must be from renewable sources (e.g. ethanol, biofuel) by the year 2010 under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation
Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation
The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation in the United Kingdom is a requirement on transport fuel suppliers to ensure that 5 percent of all road vehicle fuel is supplied is from sustainable renewable sources by 2010...

. This goal may be ambitious, without the necessary infrastructure and paucity of research on appropriate UK crops, but import from France might be a realistic option (based upon the French wine lake
Wine lake
The wine lake refers to the continuing supply surplus of wine produced in the European Union. A major contributor to that glut is the Languedoc-Roussillon, which produces over one-third of the grapes grown in France. In 2007 it was reported that for the previous several vintages, European...

).

In 2005 British Sugar announced that it will build the UK's first ethanol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

 biofuel
Biofuel
Biofuel is a type of fuel whose energy is derived from biological carbon fixation. Biofuels include fuels derived from biomass conversion, as well as solid biomass, liquid fuels and various biogases...

 production facility, using British grown sugar beet
Sugar beet
Sugar beet, a cultivated plant of Beta vulgaris, is a plant whose tuber contains a high concentration of sucrose. It is grown commercially for sugar production. Sugar beets and other B...

 as the feed stock. The plant in Norfolk
Norfolk
Norfolk is a low-lying county in the East of England. It has borders with Lincolnshire to the west, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea coast and to the north-west the county is bordered by The Wash. The county...

 will produce 55,000 metric tonnes of ethanol annually when it is completed in the first quarter of 2007. However it has been argued that even using all the UK's set-aside
Set-aside
Set-aside was introduced as a political measure by the European Union in 1988 to help reduce the large and costly surpluses produced in Europe under the guaranteed price system of the Common Agricultural Policy ; and to deliver some environmental benefits following considerable damage to...

 land to grow biofuel crops would provide for less than seven percent of the UK's present transport fuel usage.
biomass electricity >
UK electricity generation from renewable
energy in 2009 - Total is 26,999 GWh and a further 10,968 GWh produced in heat, mainly from biomass boilers (7% of the electricity generated)
Source GWh %
hydro 5357 19.8
biomass 4487 16.6
landfill gas 5170 19.1
municipal solid waste combustion & C&I 2389 8.8
4487 16.6
onshore wind 7483 27.7
offshore wind 2109 7.8
wave power 1 0.004
tidal stream 3 0.01
solar photovoltaics 20 0.07

Fuel poverty



Reducing occurrence of fuel poverty
Fuel poverty
A household is said to be in fuel poverty when they cannot afford to keep adequately warm at reasonable cost, given it's income. The term is mainly used in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand, although the concept also applies everywhere in the world where poverty may be present.As the term fuel...

 (defined as household
Household
The household is "the basic residential unit in which economic production, consumption, inheritance, child rearing, and shelter are organized and carried out"; [the household] "may or may not be synonymous with family"....

s paying over ten percent of income for heating costs) is one of the four basic goals of UK energy policy. In the prior decade substantial progress has been made on this goal, but primarily due to government subsidies to the poor rather than through fundamental change of home design or improved energy pricing. The following national programs have been specifically instrumental in such progress: Winter Fuel Payment, Child Tax Credit
Child tax credit
A child tax credit is the name for tax credits issued in some countries that depends on the number of dependent children in a family. The credit may depend on other factors as well: typically it depends on income level. For example, in the United States, only families making less than $110K per...

 and Pension Credit. Some benefits have resulted from the Warm Front Scheme in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, the Central Heating Programme in Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 and the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme in Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

. These latter programs provide economic incentives for physical improvement in insulation
Building insulation
building insulation refers broadly to any object in a building used as insulation for any purpose. While the majority of insulation in buildings is for thermal purposes, the term also applies to acoustic insulation, fire insulation, and impact insulation...

, etc.

2007 Energy White Paper


The 2007 Energy White Paper: Meeting the Energy Challenge was published on May 23, 2007. The 2007 White Paper outlines the Government’s international and domestic strategy for responding to two main challenges:
  • cutting carbon emissions to tackle global warming
    Global warming
    Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

  • ensuring secure, clean and affordable energy as imports replace declining production from North Sea oil and gas
    North Sea oil
    North Sea oil is a mixture of hydrocarbons, comprising liquid oil and natural gas, produced from oil reservoirs beneath the North Sea.In the oil industry, the term "North Sea" often includes areas such as the Norwegian Sea and the area known as "West of Shetland", "the Atlantic Frontier" or "the...


It seeks to do this in a way that is consistent with its four energy policy goals:
  • cutting the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions by some 60% by about 2050, with real progress by 2020;
  • maintaining the reliability of energy supplies;
  • promoting competitive markets in the UK and beyond, helping to raise the rate of sustainable economic growth and to improve productivity; and
  • ensuring that every home is adequately and affordably heated.


The paper anticipates that it will be necessary to install 30-35 GW of new electricity generation
Electricity generation
Electricity generation is the process of generating electric energy from other forms of energy.The fundamental principles of electricity generation were discovered during the 1820s and early 1830s by the British scientist Michael Faraday...

 capacity within 20 years to plug the energy gap resulting from increased demand and the expected closure of existing power plants. It also states that, based on existing policies, renewable energy is likely to contribute around 5% of the UK’s consumption by 2020, rather than the 20% target mentioned in the 2006 Energy Review.

Government strategy


In summary, the government's proposed strategy involves 6 components:
  • Establishing an international framework to tackle climate change, including the stabilisation of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations
    Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change
    The related terms "avoiding dangerous climate change" and "preventing dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system" date to 1995 and earlier, in the Second Assesment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change and previous science it cites.In 2002, the United Nations...

     and a stronger European Union Emissions Trading Scheme
  • Providing legally binding carbon targets for the whole UK economy, reducing emissions through the implementation of the Climate Change Bill
    United Kingdom Climate Change Bill
    The Climate Change Act 2008 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Act makes it the duty of the Secretary of State to ensure that the net UK carbon account for all six Kyoto greenhouse gases for the year 2050 is at least 80% lower than the 1990 baseline, toward avoiding dangerous...

    .
  • Making further progress in achieving fully competitive and transparent international markets, including further liberalisation of the European Union energy market.
  • Encouraging more energy saving
    Energy conservation
    Energy conservation refers to efforts made to reduce energy consumption. Energy conservation can be achieved through increased efficient energy use, in conjunction with decreased energy consumption and/or reduced consumption from conventional energy sources...

     through better information, incentives and regulation
  • Providing more support for low carbon technologies, including increased international and domestic public-private sector collaboration in the areas of research, development, demonstration and deployment – for example though the launch of the Energy Technologies Institute
    United Kingdom Energy Technologies Institute
    The Energy Technologies Institute is a UK based company formed from global industries and the UK government. It brings together projects that create affordable, reliable, clean energy for heat, power, transport and associated infrastructure....

     and the Environmental Transformation Fund
    Environmental Transformation Fund
    The Environmental Transformation Fund is the UK’s financial commitment to tackling climate change within the UK and developing countries. There are two parts to the fund, managed separately, to reflect the different challenges of its international and national elements...

    .


To achieve the government's aims, the White Paper proposes a number of practical measures, including:

Energy conservation


Businesses:
  • A new mandatory cap and trade scheme for organisations consuming more than 6,000 MWh
    MWH
    MWH may stand for:* International Air Transport Association airport code for Grant County International Airport* MWH Global, an international water engineering consultancy* Men Without Hats, a Canadian New Wave band...

     of electricity per year, to be known as the Carbon Reduction Commitment
    Carbon Reduction Commitment
    The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme is a mandatory cap and trade scheme in the United Kingdom that will apply to large non energy-intensive organisations in the public and private sectors. It has been estimated that the scheme will reduce carbon emissions by 1.2 million tonnes of carbon per year by...

    .
  • The introduction of Energy Performance Certificate
    Energy Performance Certificate
    Energy Performance Certificates were introduced in England and Wales on 1 August 2007 as part of Home Information Packs for domestic properties with four or more bedrooms . When the requirement for HIPs was removed in May 2010, the requirement for EPCs continued. The scheme for HIPs was extended...

    s for business premises and Display Energy Certificate
    Display Energy Certificate
    - Display Energy Certificates :Since 1 October 2008 public buildings in the UK over 1,000m2 must display a Display Energy Certificate prominently at all times...

    s for public sector organisations.
  • The extension of smart meter
    Smart meter
    A smart meter is usually an electrical meter that records consumption of electric energy in intervals of an hour or less and communicates that information at least daily back to the utility for monitoring and billing purposes. Smart meters enable two-way communication between the meter and the...

    ing to most business premises within 5 years.

Homes:
  • A requirement for all new homes to be zero-carbon buildings as soon as practically possible and preferably by 2016.
  • Improving the energy efficiency of existing homes.
  • Improving the efficiency of consumer electronics
    Consumer electronics
    Consumer electronics are electronic equipment intended for everyday use, most often in entertainment, communications and office productivity. Radio broadcasting in the early 20th century brought the first major consumer product, the broadcast receiver...

     and domestic appliances, and the possible phase-out of inefficient light bulbs
    Incandescent light bulb
    The incandescent light bulb, incandescent lamp or incandescent light globe makes light by heating a metal filament wire to a high temperature until it glows. The hot filament is protected from air by a glass bulb that is filled with inert gas or evacuated. In a halogen lamp, a chemical process...

     by around 2011.
  • Increasing the Carbon Emission Reduction Target
    Carbon Emission Reduction Target
    The Carbon Emission Reduction Target in the United Kingdom is a target imposed on the gas and electricity transporters and suppliers under Section 33BC of the Gas Act 1986 and Section 41A of the Electricity Act 1989, as modified by the Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006The original...

     for the electricity and gas industries for 2008-2011.
  • A requirement that new domestic electricity meter
    Electricity meter
    An electricity meter or energy meter is a device that measures the amount of electric energy consumed by a residence, business, or an electrically powered device....

    s should have real time
    Real-time computing
    In computer science, real-time computing , or reactive computing, is the study of hardware and software systems that are subject to a "real-time constraint"— e.g. operational deadlines from event to system response. Real-time programs must guarantee response within strict time constraints...

     displays from 2008, and a commitment to upgrade existing domestic meters on request.

Transport:
  • The introduction of a Low Carbon Transport Innovation Strategy
  • Support for including aviation within the EU Emissions Trading Scheme

Energy supply

  • The introduction of a Biomass Strategy to expand the use of biomass
    Biomass
    Biomass, as a renewable energy source, is biological material from living, or recently living organisms. As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly, or converted into other energy products such as biofuel....

     as an energy source.
  • Measures to grow distributed electricity generation
    Distributed generation
    Distributed generation, also called on-site generation, dispersed generation, embedded generation, decentralized generation, decentralized energy or distributed energy, generates electricity from many small energy sources....

     and distributed heat generation alongside the centralised system.
  • A reconfirmation that, under the Renewables Obligation
    Renewables Obligation
    The Renewables Obligation is designed to encourage generation of electricity from eligible renewable sources in the United Kingdom. It was introduced in England and Wales and in a different form in Scotland in April 2002 and in Northern Ireland in April 2005, replacing the Non-Fossil Fuel...

    , renewable energy should supply 10% of electricity generation by 2010, an 'aspiration' to achieve 20% by 2020, together with the introduction of bands within the Obligation to support different renewable technologies.
  • The launch in November 2007 of a competition to demonstrate commercial-scale carbon capture and storage
    Carbon capture and storage
    Carbon capture and storage , alternatively referred to as carbon capture and sequestration, is a technology to prevent large quantities of from being released into the atmosphere from the use of fossil fuel in power generation and other industries. It is often regarded as a means of mitigating...

     technology
  • A 'preliminary view is that it is in the public interest to give the private sector the option of investing in new nuclear power
    Nuclear power in the United Kingdom
    Nuclear power currently generates around a sixth of the United Kingdom's electricity. As of 2011, the United Kingdom operates 19 nuclear reactors at nine locations...

     stations'. A consultation on this was launched at the same time as the White Paper.
  • The introduction of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation
    Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation
    The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation in the United Kingdom is a requirement on transport fuel suppliers to ensure that 5 percent of all road vehicle fuel is supplied is from sustainable renewable sources by 2010...

     in 2008-2009, with a commitment that biofuel
    Biofuel
    Biofuel is a type of fuel whose energy is derived from biological carbon fixation. Biofuels include fuels derived from biomass conversion, as well as solid biomass, liquid fuels and various biogases...

    s should provide 5% of transport fuel by 2010-2011.
  • Measures to support the recovery of the remaining oil and gas reserves from the North Sea.
  • Removing barriers to developing new energy infrastructure and power plants through reform of planning permission
    Planning permission
    Planning permission or planning consent is the permission required in the United Kingdom in order to be allowed to build on land, or change the use of land or buildings. Within the UK the occupier of any land or building will need title to that land or building , but will also need "planning...

     processes, as detailed in the 2007 Planning White Paper: Planning for a Sustainable Future.

Response of the Scottish Government


The Scottish Government responded to the UK government paper by making clear that it was against new nuclear power stations being built in Scotland and had the power to prevent any being built. In a statement to parliament, Energy Minister Jim Mather
Jim Mather
Jim Mather is a Scottish National Party politician, former Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism and until the 2011 election, Member of the Scottish Parliament for Argyll and Bute ....

 stated "Members will be aware that Greenpeace, backed by the courts, have forced the UK Government to consult properly on the future role of nuclear power. We will respond and we will make clear that we do not want and do not need new nuclear power in Scotland. If an application were to be submitted for a new nuclear power station that will be for Scottish Ministers to determine. We would be obliged to look at it - but given our policy position, our generating capacity, our multiplicity of energy sources and our strong alternative strategies such an application would be unlikely to find favour with this administration."

Status


Following a judicial review
Judicial review
Judicial review is the doctrine under which legislative and executive actions are subject to review by the judiciary. Specific courts with judicial review power must annul the acts of the state when it finds them incompatible with a higher authority...

 requested by Greenpeace
Greenpeace
Greenpeace is a non-governmental environmental organization with offices in over forty countries and with an international coordinating body in Amsterdam, The Netherlands...

, on February 15, 2007 elements of the 2006 Energy Review were ruled 'seriously flawed', and 'not merely inadequate but also misleading'. As a result, plans to build a new generation of nuclear power plant
Nuclear power plant
A nuclear power plant is a thermal power station in which the heat source is one or more nuclear reactors. As in a conventional thermal power station the heat is used to generate steam which drives a steam turbine connected to a generator which produces electricity.Nuclear power plants are usually...

s were ruled illegal. See Nuclear power in the United Kingdom for details.

Background


The UK Government published its White Paper on Energy (“Our Energy Future – creating a Low Carbon Economy”) in 2003, establishing a formal energy policy for the UK for the first time in 20 years. Essentially, the White Paper recognised that a limitation of carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

 (CO2 – the main gas contributing to global climate change) was going to be necessary. It committed the UK to working towards a 60% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, and identified business opportunities in so doing: a recurrent theme throughout the document was “cleaner, smarter energy”. It also claimed to be based on four pillars: the environment, energy reliability, affordable energy for the poorest and competitive markets.

However the White Paper focused more on analysing the issues than in providing detailed policy responses. Some detail began to filter through in a series of follow-on documents, including an Energy Efficiency Implementation Plan (April 2004) and the DTI Microgeneration Strategy "Our Energy Challenge" (March 2006). Nonetheless, most of the policies were a continuation of business as usual, with emphasis on market-led solutions and an expectation that consumers act rationally, for example in installing energy efficiency measures to make running cost savings.

However, in November 2005 it was announced that the Government, under DTI leadership, would undertake a full scale Energy Review, and over 500 organisations and individuals made detailed submissions as part of this review. Officially, the review was to take stock of the outcomes to date of the White Paper, which a particular focus on cutting carbon (emissions of which remained stubbornly high) and to look in more detail at security of supply, as the UK’s oil and gas production from the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 had peaked, and Russia was seen as being a high-risk supplier of gas.

Unofficially, it was widely felt that the real reason behind the review was to allow nuclear power
Nuclear power
Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world's energy and 13–14% of the world's electricity, with the U.S., France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity...

 back into the energy debate, as it had been sidelined in the 2003 White Paper. That document had said “This white paper does not contain specific proposals for building new nuclear power stations. However we do not rule out the possibility that at some point in the future new nuclear build might be necessary if we are to meet our carbon targets. Before any decision to proceed with the building of new nuclear power stations, there will need to be the fullest public consultation and the publication of a further white paper setting out our proposals.” The Energy Review was therefore to be this public consultation. A further White Paper was promised for early 2007.

Contents


The Energy Challenge: The Energy Review Report 2006

In the event, the Energy Review Report 2006 came out as a broader and more balanced document than critics (in advance) had expected. It started by reiterating the Government’s four long-term goals for energy policy:
  • To put the UK on a path to cut carbon dioxide emissions by some 60% by about 2050, with real progress by 2020;

  • To maintain reliable energy supplies;

  • To promote competitive markets in the UK and beyond, helping to raise the rate of sustainable economic growth and to improve productivity; and

  • To ensure that every home is adequately and affordably heated.


It then identified two major long-term energy challenges:
  • Tackling climate change, along with other nations, as global carbon emissions from human activity continue to grow; and

  • Delivering secure, clean energy at affordable prices, as we become increasingly dependent on imports for our energy needs.


The Review took an internationalist response, stressing that the world’s economies need to get on a path to being significantly less carbon-intensive, and noting rising global demand, especially from countries such as India and China. This means using less energy in products and services and changing the way energy is produced so that more of it comes from low-carbon sources. It also identified the need for a fairer distribution of energy around the world, and identified that many resources, especially of fossil fuels which are concentrated in just a few countries.

It placed its main concerns and proposals into three groups:

Saving Energy

The starting point for reducing carbon emissions is to save energy. The challenge is to secure the heat, light and energy we need in homes and businesses in a way that cuts the amount of oil, gas and
electricity used and the carbon dioxide emitted. Actions proposed include:
  • Increasing information, e.g. through Home Information Pack
    Home information pack
    Under Part 5 of the Housing Act 2004 a Home Information Pack , sometimes called a Seller's Pack, was to be provided before a property in England and Wales could be put on the open market for sale with vacant possession. There is separate legislation for Scotland that requires anyone selling a...

    s

  • Raising basic standards, removing inefficient goods from the market

  • Making best use of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme
    European Union Emission Trading Scheme
    The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme also known as the European Union Emissions Trading System, was the first large emissions trading scheme in the world. It was launched in 2005 to combat climate change and is a major pillar of EU climate policy...

     and Climate Change Levy
    Climate Change Levy
    The Climate Change Levy is a tax on energy delivered to non-domestic users in the United Kingdom. Its aim is to provide an incentive to increase energy efficiency and to reduce carbon emissions, however there have been ongoing calls to replace it with a proper carbon tax.-Scope and...


  • Making the Government estate carbon neutral
    Carbon neutral
    Carbon neutrality, or having a net zero carbon footprint, refers to achieving net zero carbon emissions by balancing a measured amount of carbon released with an equivalent amount sequestered or offset, or buying enough carbon credits to make up the difference...

     by 2012

  • Increasing the focus on energy efficient transport


Cleaner Energy

Cost-effective ways of using less energy will help move towards the carbon reduction goal. But on their own they will not provide the solution to the challenges faced: there is also a need to make the energy used cleaner. Under this head, the Government considered:
  • more distributed energy generation including low-carbon heat

  • more use of community based systems, including CHP
    Cogeneration
    Cogeneration is the use of a heat engine or a power station to simultaneously generate both electricity and useful heat....


  • a strong commitment to carbon pricing
    Carbon pricing
    Carbon pricing is the generic term for placing a price on carbon through either subsidies, a carbon tax, or an emissions trading system....

     in the UK, through improving the operation of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme

  • a strengthened commitment to the Renewables Obligation
    Renewables Obligation
    The Renewables Obligation is designed to encourage generation of electricity from eligible renewable sources in the United Kingdom. It was introduced in England and Wales and in a different form in Scotland in April 2002 and in Northern Ireland in April 2005, replacing the Non-Fossil Fuel...


  • proposals for reform of the planning regime for electricity projects

  • a clear statement of our position on new nuclear build

  • support for carbon capture and storage

  • developing alternative fuels for transport


The Energy Security Challenge

The challenges of reducing carbon emissions and ensuring security of supply
Energy security
Energy security is a term for an association between national security and the availability of natural resources for energy consumption. Access to cheap energy has become essential to the functioning of modern economies. However, the uneven distribution of energy supplies among countries has led...

 are closely linked. Security of supply requires that we have good access to available fuel supplies, the infrastructure in place to transport them to centres of demand and effective markets so that supply meets demand in the most efficient way. Many of the measures already described for tackling carbon emissions also contribute to the healthy diversity of energy sources that is necessary for meeting the energy security challenge.

There are two main security of supply challenges for the UK:
  • Managing increased dependence on oil and gas imports, especially in the light of the global distribution of energy reserves and growing international demand; and

  • Ensuring that the market delivers substantial and timely investment in electricity generating capacity and networks so that households and businesses have the electricity they need at affordable prices.


The Government’s response is to continue to open up markets and to work internationally to develop strong relationships with suppliers, developing liberalised markets.

So where does nuclear power
Nuclear power in the United Kingdom
Nuclear power currently generates around a sixth of the United Kingdom's electricity. As of 2011, the United Kingdom operates 19 nuclear reactors at nine locations...

 fit within this debate? Although it is mentioned a lot more in the Review compared to the White Paper (441 times, compared to 55 to be exact), the Government does not propose building new stations itself. Instead, it will leave it to the market, although it will ease some of the planning constraints (which it also aims to do for renewables) and look into providing a design authorisation procedure. However, as with many other aspects of the Energy Review Response, the document is not likely to be the last word on the subject, as there are plans for further consultation, and the establishment of further reviews and studies in issues such as identifying suitable sites, and managing the costs of decommissioning and long term waste management.

Issues not thoroughly addressed by UK policy


Despite some successes and stated goals, there are some issues that are incompletely addressed by UK policy. The principal such items are:

Peak Oil


In their October 2009 report, the Government-supported UK Energy Research Centre
UK Energy Research Centre
The UK Energy Research Centre is the focal point for UK research on sustainable energy, and is central to the Research Councils' Energy Programme...

 (UKERC) noted that the implications of reaching the peak of world oil production
Peak oil
Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline. This concept is based on the observed production rates of individual oil wells, projected reserves and the combined production rate of a field...

 had, until the late 2000s, caused little concern among the world's governments. The UKERC report concluded that this peak could be expected before 2030, but that there is a 'significant risk' of a peak before 2020. The UK Government has no contingency plans for oil peaking before 2020.

The UKERC report's authors warn of the risk that 'rising oil prices
Price of petroleum
The price of petroleum as quoted in news generally refers to the spot price per barrel of either WTI/light crude as traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange for delivery at Cushing, Oklahoma, or of Brent as traded on the Intercontinental Exchange for delivery at Sullom Voe.The price...

 will encourage the rapid development of carbon-intensive alternatives (such as coal) which will make it difficult or impossible to prevent dangerous climate change
Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change
The related terms "avoiding dangerous climate change" and "preventing dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system" date to 1995 and earlier, in the Second Assesment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change and previous science it cites.In 2002, the United Nations...

' and that 'early investment in low-carbon alternatives
Alternative energy
Alternative energy is an umbrella term that refers to any source of usable energy intended to replace fuel sources without the undesired consequences of the replaced fuels....

 to conventional oil is of considerable importance' in avoiding this scenario. It is suggested that the current measures being established to address climate change may not be sufficient or rapid enough to address the challenges of peak oil, but that it will require 'both improved understanding and much greater awareness of the risks presented by global oil depletion' for further action to become politically feasible.

Other issues



  • Loss of energy independence. Rather than creating an aggressive plan to lessen the impending loss of energy independence, the UK policy succumbs to that outcome, with resultant risks to future supplies and costs.

  • Lack of strong national policy on transport fuel efficiency. While the city of London
    London
    London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

     and other local councils have given incentives to hybrid vehicle
    Hybrid vehicle
    A hybrid vehicle is a vehicle that uses two or more distinct power sources to move the vehicle. The term most commonly refers to hybrid electric vehicles , which combine an internal combustion engine and one or more electric motors.-Power:...

    s, the national policy does not provide any real stimulus to highly fuel efficient vehicles. In fact, the government has done so little to inform the public about fuel efficient options that a survey released in March, 2006: "Some of the 1200 people surveyed ... thought ‘hybrid’ meant two cars welded together. Others thought hybrids had to be plugged in at night."

  • Lack of emphasis of energy conservation
    Energy conservation
    Energy conservation refers to efforts made to reduce energy consumption. Energy conservation can be achieved through increased efficient energy use, in conjunction with decreased energy consumption and/or reduced consumption from conventional energy sources...

     by reducing over-illumination
    Over-illumination
    Over-illumination is the presence of lighting intensity beyond that required for a specified activity. Over-illumination was commonly ignored between 1950 and 1995, especially in office and retail environments; only since then has the interior design community begun to reconsider this practice.The...

    ,If the light level in a building is reduced then so is its energy usage.

Public opinion


The UK results from the 1st Annual World Environment Review, published on June 5, 2007 revealed that:
  • 81% are concerned about climate change.
  • 79% think their Government should do more to tackle global warming.
  • 73% think that the UK is too dependent on fossil fuels.
  • 77% think that the UK is too reliant on foreign oil.
  • 87% think that a minimum 25% of electricity should be generated from renewable energy sources.
  • 24% think that the Government should do more to expand nuclear power.
  • 56% are concerned about nuclear power.
  • 76% are concerned about carbon dioxide emissions from developing countries.
  • 61% think it appropriate for developed countries to demand restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions from developing countries.

See also


  • Avoiding dangerous climate change
    Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change
    The related terms "avoiding dangerous climate change" and "preventing dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system" date to 1995 and earlier, in the Second Assesment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change and previous science it cites.In 2002, the United Nations...

  • Energy policy of Scotland
    Energy policy of Scotland
    Energy policy in Scotland is a matter that has been specifically reserved to the UK parliament under the terms of the Scotland Act 1998 that created the devolved Scottish Parliament...

  • Energy Efficiency Commitment
    White certificates
    In environmental policy, white certificates are documents certifying that a certain reduction of energy consumption has been attained. In most applications, the white certificates are tradable and combined with an obligation to achieve a certain target of energy savings...

     (White certificates
    White certificates
    In environmental policy, white certificates are documents certifying that a certain reduction of energy consumption has been attained. In most applications, the white certificates are tradable and combined with an obligation to achieve a certain target of energy savings...

    )
  • Energy policy of the European Union
    Energy policy of the European Union
    Although the European Union has legislated in the area of energy policy for many years, and evolved out of the European Coal and Steel Community, the concept of introducing a mandatory and comprehensive European energy policy was only approved at the meeting of the European Council on 27 October...

  • Energy Saving Trust
    Energy Saving Trust
    Energy Saving Trust is a non-profit organisation jointly funded by the British Government and the private sector in order to help fight climate change by promoting the sustainable use of energy, energy conservation and to cut carbon dioxide emissions in the United Kingdom.-Background:The Energy...

  • Future energy development
  • Low Carbon Building Programme
    Low Carbon Building Programme
    The Low Carbon Building Programme was a Government programme in the United Kingdom administered by BERR which ran from 1 April 2006 until its closure to new applications on 24 May 2010...

  • The Carbon Trust
    The Carbon Trust
    The Carbon Trust is a not for dividend company limited by guarantee created by the UK government to help businesses and public organisations to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, through improved energy efficiency and developing commercial low carbon technology...

  • National Energy Action
    National Energy Action
    National Energy Action is the leading fuel poverty charity that works to eradicate fuel poverty and campaigns for greater investment in energy efficiency to help those who are poor or vulnerable gain affordable heat....

     (NEA)
  • Timeline of the UK electricity supply industry
    Timeline of the UK electricity supply industry
    The following is a list of major events in the history of the United Kingdom's electricity supply industry.-See also:*Energy policy of the United Kingdom*Energy use and conservation in the United Kingdom*Energy switching services in the UK-References:* *...

  • Energy switching services in the UK
    Energy switching services in the UK
    Energy switching services are a kind of company that has come to exist since the EU began deregulating the gas and electricity markets, to open them to international competition, in 1996. Progress has been uneven across member countries, but in the UK there is now open competition among suppliers...


External links


In the media