Policy measures must achieve the following:
1) Reduce demand for coal down to zero by 2025.
The government has already committed to close all coal power stations by 2025. This commitment needs to be seen through. Countdown to 2025: Tracking the UK Coal phase out [Simon Evans, Carbon Brief, 10 Feb 2016]
2) Reduce the supply of coal to zero at the same time.
3) Remove any diesel generators from the grid.
4) No new gas-fired power plants.
Policy makers must think very carefully about how best to replace the lost capacity from closing coal-fired power stations. A further ‘dash for gas’ may provide some short term gains in reducing CO2 emissions, but it would not be the most cost-effective way of doing so and methane leaks could represent a far worse problem. See my blog: Are new gas-fired power plants the bridge fuel to a low-carbon future? [Jon Crooks, The Green Economy, 15 August 2016]
5) Ban Fracking.
6) No new nuclear.
Government seeks to reassure investors as Hinkley Point delayed [Anushka Asthana andGraham Ruddick, The Guardian, 29 July 2016]
Hinkley Point C delay points to renegotiation rather than rethink [John Vidal, The Guardian, 29 July 2016]
Hinkley Point C in fresh doubt after government delays approval [Graham Ruddick and Jamie Grierson, 29 July 2016]
Hinkley Point review gives UK golden opportunity [Letters, The Guardian 29 July 2016]
The Guardian view on Hinkley C: wrong project, wrong price [Editorial, The Guardian, 28 July 2016]
- As Hinkley Point C put on ice: the UK needs to get over energy megaprojects [David Elmes, The Conversation, 28 July 2016]
- Hinkley Point C: should the £18bn nuclear power station be built? [Graham Ruddick, The Gardian, 28 July 2016]
- EDF’s Hinkley Point C nuclear power station faces £18bn decision day [Press Association, 28 July 2016]
- EDF ‘to give green light to Hinkley Point project’ [Peter Walker, The Guardian, 28 July 2016]
Hinkley Point C is no more than a doomed attempt at face-saving [John Sauven, The Guardian, 27 July 2016]
California is on the verge of closing its last nuclear plant. Is that really a good idea? [Brad Plumer, Vox, 21 Jun 2016]
7) Commit to 100% renewable energy and put together a plan to get us there.
Energy consulting firm Ecofys produced a report detailing how we can meet nearly 100% of global energy needs with renewable sources by 2050. Approximately half of the goal is met through increased energy efficiency to first reduce energy demands, and the other half is achieved by switching to renewable energy sources for electricity production.
Figure 1: Ecofys projected global energy consumption between 2000 and 2050
Stanford’s Mark Jacobson and UC Davis’ Mark Delucchi (J&D) published a study in 2010 in the journal Energy Policy examining the possibility of meeting all global energy needs with wind, water, and solar (WWS) power. They found that it would be plausible to produce all new energy from WWS in 2030, and replace all pre-existing energy with WWS by 2050.
They use the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates of global power consumption. The EIA projects that by 2030, global power demand will increase to 17 trillion watts from the current consumption of 12.5 trillion watts, or an increase of about 36%. This is the global energy demand that the J&D plan must meet by 2030.
In terms of electricity generation, J&D find that the available supply could more than meet the global demand.
“Wind in developable locations can power the world about 3–5 times over and solar, about 15–20 times over.”