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Sustainable Business Covered podcast: A Net-Zero November special

Episode 93 of the Sustainable Business Covered podcast rounds up all of the key goings-on from Net-Zero November – edie’s themed month of content on accelerating the low-carbon transition.

The edie Podcast is now streaming on Soundcloud, Spotify and iTunes

The edie Podcast is now streaming on Soundcloud, Spotify and iTunes

Developed to reflect on a bumper month of announcements and content relating to the Net-Zero movement – including edie’s Net-Zero Live virtual event, sponsored by EDF – this podcast sees senior reporter Sarah George and content editor Matt Mace catching up and delivering three exclusive interviews. 

First, the edie team dials New York City for a discussion with The Estee Lauder Comapnies’ senior vice president for global corporate citizenship and sustainability, Nancy Mahon. She talks us through how the company was able to reach 100% renewable electricity and net-zero operations, and what it plans to do next to address Scope 3 (indirect) emissions while delivering social benefits across supply chains. 

After a brief recap of the main business and policy announcements of the month, the team speak with the Energy Saving Trust’s chief executive Mike Thronton, who stepped into the role earlier this year. He provides his view on the role of energy policy in the UK’s green recovery movement and net-zero transition, and an update on how Covid-19 has changed approaches to energy management both at home and in the workplace.

The third and final interview is with Mitie’s Managing Director of Energy Services and Plan Zero Pradyumna Pandit. Pandit provides an overview of how the UK’s facilities management sector and its biggest clients have adapted their energy management, fleet and other decarbonisation plans for 2020.

During this episode, Sarah and Matt reference the following news stories: 

What does Joe Biden’s win mean for the global climate movement? 

SSE unveils ‘just transition’ strategy to benefit workers and communities 

The edie podcast is now available to listen to on Spotify. You can also subscribe to this podcast on iTunes and bookmark this page to see the full list of podcast episodes as they appear. 

Have a question about this podcast or a suggestion for future episodes? Email us at

edie Staff


Carbon Pricing

Chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and TV presenter Stephen Fry are backing calls from campaigners and big business for the Government to put a price on pollution. In a “declaration” being delivered to the Prime Minister, the coalition calls for carbon pricing to be rolled out across the UK economy to help tackle climate change – a move which could mean everything from gas heating to red meat becoming more expensive. Carbon pricing is a way of charging polluters for their damage to the environment. Usually it means polluters, like power stations, oil companies, or even farmers, would pay a set price for every tonne of carbon they are responsible for emitting.

iNews 24th Nov 2020 read more »


Vodafone sets net-zero target for 2040

Vodafone has committed to reducing its carbon emissions to net-zero by 2040 and will eliminate emissions from its activities and energy and halve scope 3 emissions by 2030.

The targets will set up the required decarbonisation rate to allow Vodafone to eliminate Scope 3 emissions completely by 2040

The targets will set up the required decarbonisation rate to allow Vodafone to eliminate Scope 3 emissions completely by 2040

Vodafone will aim to reach net-zero emissions by 2040, through carbon reduction targets that have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative as in line with reductions required to keep warming to 1.5°C, the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement.

The science-based targets will see Vodafone strive to eliminate carbon emissions from Scopes 1 and 2 – its own activities and energy procurement – and halve Scope 3 emissions, including joint ventures, supply chain purchases, the use of sold products and business travel.

The targets will set up the required decarbonisation rate to allow Vodafone to eliminate Scope 3 emissions completely by 2040 – ten years ahead of Vodafone’s original 2050 ambition to reach net-zero across its full carbon footprint.

Vodafone Group’s chief executive Nick Read said: “We are committed to reduce our carbon footprint through improved energy efficiency, renewable energy supply, reducing our network waste and new environmental criteria when we select suppliers. Vodafone will also enable our customers to reduce their environmental footprint through use of our services, including the Internet of Things.”

Energy savings

Vodafone has worked with facilities management firm Mitie to reduce its UK carbon footprint by 25,000 tonnes over a three-year period, with improvements to building-based energy use saving the technology firm around £10m. By working with Mitie, Vodafone UK has saved 100GW of energy over the three-year period which is equivalent to powering the homes of 65,000 people for a year. The organisation has also saved around £10m in energy-related costs as a result.

Vodafone has vowed to power its European network – spanning 11 national markets – with 100% renewable electricity by the end of July 2021. After joining the Climate Group’s RE100 initiative in 2018 and pledging to source 100% renewable electricity for its global operations by 2025, Vodafone revealed that it is on track to reach the 100% milestone in Europe within 12 months.

Around four-fifths of the energy used by Vodafone’s networks by July 2021 sourced through power purchase agreements (PPAs) and renewable tariffs. The majority of the remaining fifth will be covered by renewable energy guarantees of origin (REGO) certificates, as it is supplied to facilities let by landlords. A minority of the remaining fifth will be sourced from onsite generation arrays, predominantly solar.

Matt Mace


Renewables vs Nuclear

If the UK government were to back renewable generation and flexible energy technologies like battery storage instead of a new nuclear plant, some £660m could be saved through to 2030, a new analysis has concluded. The publication of the paper, by Wärtsilä Energy, comes shortly after the UK Government confirmed plans to back small nuclear projects with more than £525m of funding over the next year. A proportion is expected to go to Rolls-Royce. In the same week, EDF confirmed plans to move the Hinkley B nuclear plant into decommissioning by the end of 2022. By Wärtsilä Energy’s calculations, the UK could invest in adding 7GW of flexible energy capacity through utility-scale battery storage, advanced flexible gas plants and technologies like vehicle-to-grid (V2G) by 2030, if it scrapped plans for Sizewell C nuclear power station. This would enable the UK to reach 62% clean power in the energy mix, mitigating two million tonnes of CO2e emissions annually from 2030. Proponents of nuclear power have warned that this will leave a “gap” in low-carbon power generation – particularly given that the UK’s electricity demand is set to rise over the coming decades. Nuclear is attractive in that it is low-carbon and, unlike renewables, does not produce varying outputs based on the weather. But green groups including Greenpeace have argued that the risk of radioactive waste releases and weapons proliferation should not be ignored and that the Government would be better off investing in green hydrogen and geothermal power.

Edie 23rd Nov 2020 read more »


Scottish Parliament

Holyrood’s debates could be chaired by a Green MSP for the first time, with senior SNP sources indicating the next presiding officer should be drawn from Green ranks in the run-up to the COP26 climate change conference. Lothians MSP Alison Johnstone has emerged as a front-runner for the job being vacated with the departure of Ken Macintosh, who is not seeking re-election as an MSP in May. The Greens are the only party at Holyrood not to have held the post, and Johnstone will almost certainly be returned at next year’s election, having been placed top of the party list for the Lothians.

Times 22nd Nov 2020 read more »


SVOLT’s 24-GWh Battery Cell Factory Comes to Germany

Chinese high-tech company invests up to EUR 2 billion in two Saarland production sites SVOLT intends to establish two production sites in Germany by the end of 2023. A total investment of EUR 2 billion is planned; SVOLT will create up to 2,000 jobs in total. A module and pack factory as well as a state-of-the-art cell factory with 24 GWh production capacity in the final expansion stage will be built in Saarland. 24 GWh… Source: RealWire


Net-Zero Navigators podcast: Meet Dentsu International’s chief sustainability officer Anna Lungley

To mark Net-Zero November, edie is publishing a mini series of podcasts interviewing the trendsetters and trailblazers in the net-zero movement. Up next: Dentsu International’s CSO Anna Lungley.

Each episode provides a deep dive into a net-zero or carbon-neutral strategy in less than 30 minutes

Each episode provides a deep dive into a net-zero or carbon-neutral strategy in less than 30 minutes

Following on from the UK Government’s world-leading net-zero carbon commitment, edie’s new spinoff podcast series, Net-Zero Business, hears from the trendsetters and trailblazers of responsible businesses.

Since the UK Government set it’s 2050 net-zero target into law, more and more businesses are attempting to get ahead of the political curve by strengthening carbon and energy strategies and pledging to become net-zero businesses well before the 2050 deadline. 

The Net-Zero Business podcast is a monthly digest of shorter episodes, each featuring an in-depth interview with a sustainability lead at a business that has set a net-zero target recently. For Net-Zero November, we’re picking up the pace and publishing a new episode each week. 

This latest episode features an in-depth interview with Dentsu International’s CSO Anna Lungley, in which she provides more information on the media and communications firm’s plans to reach net-zero by 2030. The company has committed to reducing its absolute carbon emissions by 46% within a decade – an ambition it hopes to have certified by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) in line with 1.5C.

Lungley describes Dentsu’s plans for tackling its direct and power-related emissions, and for working with clients and supply chains to address Scope 3 emissions and increase engagement on environmental issues. She also outlines best-practice advice for ensuring that climate action has executive-level buy-in. 

The episode also features an interview with EDF – the headline sponsor of Net-Zero Live. EDF’s B2B propositions manager for electric vehicle (EV) solutions, Hugo Herrman, discusses how vehicle-to-grid fits in with the net-zero transition at a national level – and how businesses can reap the benefits. Further information on the topics discussed can be found here.

The edie podcast is available to listen to on Spotify. You can also subscribe to this podcast on iTunes and bookmark this page to see the full list of podcast episodes as they appear. Have a question about this podcast or a suggestion for future episodes? Email us at

edie staff


SSE – Renewables

SSE is set to treble its renewable output by 2030 thanks to an attractive pipeline of projects, and is on track to add 1GW of new capacity annually in the second half of the decade. This update comes as the company releases its 2020/21 interim results, which contain a strong focus on wind, as it states it is leading the development of more offshore wind than any company in the world.

Current 19th Nov 2020 read more »


New report details how businesses can help achieve SDG 7: Clean and Affordable Energy

edie’s latest SDG Spotlight report, produced in association with Bryt Energy, looks at how businesses and national policies can transform operations, services, supply chains and strategies to help deliver Goal 7: Clean and Affordable Energy.

Three-quarters of British firms believe they have a role to play in furthering national and international progress against the SDGs

Three-quarters of British firms believe they have a role to play in furthering national and international progress against the SDGs

With less than 10 years to meet the SDGs, action is still not happening at the speed or scale required – despite a groundswell of ambition and action from organisations of all sectors and sizes. 

edie’s SDG Spotlight reports map out exactly how the business community can collectively achieve the SDGs through the scope of individual goals. Up next in this renewed series, we take a look at SDG 7 and ask: How can industry position clean and affordable energy as drivers of economic growth and decarbonisation across the globe?


Although global progress towards the UN’s SDGs remains insufficient to meet the 2030 deadline, the UK is among the nations leading the way on alignment and, as such, is a prime market for impact investment.

The analysis, from Refinitiv, saw the UK receiving top marks for SDGs 2: Zero Hunger; 3: Good Health & Wellbeing; 6: Clean Water and Sanitation and 7: Affordable and clean energy.

Additionally, three-quarters of British firms believe they have a role to play in furthering national and international progress against the SDGs.

This new report features a current state of play on the SDG 7 and the global shift to clean energy and features a foreword from the REA’s chief executive Dr Nina Skorupska on how clean energy can be at the heart of a green industrial revolution.

“Never before has our world needed a sustainable, affordable energy strategy for the future as now, with Covid-19 continuing to show just how vulnerable our precious, connected planet can be,” Skorupska said in the report.

“We must waste no time in forging a green economic recovery that will be sufficiently durable to meet the fast-evolving needs of today, whilst lasting enough to avoid compromising those of future generations.”

Bryt Energy’s sales and marketing director David Taylor is also on hand in the report, outlining how new innovations are transforming the energy sector to the benefit of society.

Click here to download the report.

Click here to access all edie insight and spotlight reports.

edie staff


10 Point Plan

10 Point Plan Booklet: Imagine how our Green Industrial Revolution could transform life across our United Kingdom. You cook your breakfast using hydrogen power before getting in your electric car, having charged it overnight from batteries made in the Midlands. Around you the air is cleaner, and the trucks and trains, ships and planes are running on hydrogen or a synthetic fuel. British towns and regions — Teesside, Port Talbot, Merseyside and Mansfield — have become synonymous with green technology and the jobs they bring. This is where Britain’s ability to make hydrogen and capture carbon pioneered the decarbonisation of transport, industry and power. This Ten Point Plan to get there will mobilise £12 billion of government investment, and potentially three times as much from the private sector, to create and support up to 250,000 green jobs. There will be electric vehicle technicians in the Midlands, construction and installation workers in the North East and Wales, specialists in advanced fuels in the North West, agroforestry practitioners in Scotland, and grid system installers everywhere. And we will help people train for these new green jobs through our Lifetime Skills Guarantee.

HM Government 18th Nov 2020 read more »

The UK & Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) has read with interest, but concluded with real disappointment, the UK Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. We see it as a missed opportunity when radical, appropriately funded action to tackle the climate emergency is sorely needed. The 10-point plan is supposed to reset UK Government policy as it prepares for the global climate change conference taking place in Glasgow next year. It is expected an Energy White Paper and National Infrastructure Strategy will follow later this month. Some of the 10 points the Government is taking forward include some welcome areas of support – for example a major increase of offshore wind, supporting the development of electric vehicles in conjunction with support for public transport, cycling and walking strategies, laudable aims on energy efficiency (despite completely inadequate resource for it), protecting and restoring the natural environment and looking at ways to increase green finance across the country. However, the amount of new money committed to such work is totally inadequate to claim this to be part of a new green industrial revolution. NFLA is particularly disappointed with the Government’s commitment to new nuclear, which, given the carbon footprint in the construction period of building such reactors as Sizewell C, will have next to no positive low carbon impact in the time required to be getting to zero carbon. Is nuclear power truly ‘green’ and ‘clean’ when it still creates large amounts of radioactive waste for which there is still is no long-term management solution for? The amount of public money required to deliver both small modular reactors, a nuclear fusion experimental reactor and new large nuclear reactors at sites like Sizewell and Bradwell is massive. Hinkley Point C alone is coming in at around £22.5 billion. Small modular reactors could require similar figures given there is no agreed or approved design for them, or an established supply chain that can deliver them in a cost-effective way. An experimental nuclear fusion reactor requires billions more. In all three cases the delivery of such projects is years away and completely diverts attention for more effective alternatives.

NFLA 18th Nov 2020 read more »

A leading energy efficiency champion, Andrew Warren, has alleged that the Government is slashing its energy efficiency programme by 80 per cent. The Government’s ten point plan to tackle the climate emergency includes large amounts of money to pave the way for a programme of ‘small modular reactors’ (SMRs) and payments to gas interests to establish pilot schemes for producing hydrogen from gas with carbon capture and storage (ccs). Finance will also be available to support hydrogen production from windfarms. What is becoming clear, amidst the low cost pledges to ban petroleum based cars and install 40 GW of offshore wind by 2030, is that the funding package will be dominated by large payments to nuclear and gas industry interests, and largescale cutbacks to the energy efficiency programme. Originally, according to the Conservative manifesto in 2019 there was a pledge to ‘help lower energy bills by investing £9.2 billion in the energy efficiency of homes, schools and hospitals’. Earlier this year, amid reports that the programme was being resisted by Dominic Cummings, an energy efficiency programme was announced including around £2.5 billion over a six month period. However, now, under this programme Andrew Warren, the Chairman of the British Energy Efficiency Federation commented: ‘Current 6 month budget for Green Homes grant + public sector £2,5 bn (e,g. annual rate of £5bn.) (is) now cut by 80% to £1bn p.a. And unlike all energy supply projects, nothing (is) committed after March 2022.

100% Renewables 18th Nov 2020 read more »

Prime Minister Boris Johnson released his Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution to a mixed response from the energy sector. While many have welcomed bringing forwards the ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars to 2030, the absence of generation technologies like onshore wind, solar and storage has drawn criticism. Companies, groups and charities operating in the energy and environmental space gave Current± their reactions to the long awaited ‘milestone’ of a plan.

Current 18th Nov 2020 read more »

On the day that the Government unveiled a new Ten Point Plan to drive investment to assist with the net-zero transition, a new report from PwC has warned that up to £400bn needs to be unlocked and funnelled into green infrastructure to meet the 2050 national target. Clean hydrogen, carbon capture and storage (CCS), zero-carbon transport and offshore wind are all key pillars of Boris Johnson’s 10-point plan to push the UK towards net-zero emissions, which will be backed by £12bn in Government investment and aim to create 250,000 new green jobs. Announced late last night (17 November), the Ten Point Plan aims to secure three times as much investment from the private sector by 2030. While the announcement was welcomed by green groups, some have pointed to an existing investment gap into infrastructure as a worrying omission from the plan. A new report released today builds on this concern. PwC, on behalf of the Global Infrastructure Investment Association (GIIA), has warned that £40bn investment per year is required over the next decade in low-carbon and digital infrastructure. This would be double the capital allocation of the UK’s Infrastructure Delivery Plan, which in 2019 called for more than £20bn of annual private investment in the energy, water and telecoms sector.

Edie 18th Nov2020 read more »

Business Green 18th Nov 2020 read more »

The government’s 10-point plan for putting the UK on track to reach net zero carbon emissions has been welcomed by experts as a good start, but many fear that the £12bn of public investment proposed will be too little to achieve the sweeping changes to the UK’s economy that will be needed. Sir David King, a former government chief scientist and chair of the Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge University, said: “[This] is nowhere near enough either to manage the commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 or to provide a safe future. As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on our economy, there needs to be an understanding that this is the opportunity to grow our economy in a direction that is fit for purpose in this century.” He contrasted the £12bn with China’s commitment to investing 2.1% of GDP in the green economy. “We need clarity from the government on the transitional process over the coming decade that would include major investments into promising greenhouse gas removal technologies, and disinvestments from the fossil fuel industry,” King said. PwC has estimated that £400bn of investment in green infrastructure is required in the next decade to meet the net zero target. Steve Jennings, the head of energy and utilities at PwC, said: “Government is signalling an intent and an ambition which is really positive, but the £12bn investment is the significant point. This may not be enough. It will be the private sector that has to invest significantly and create and support these green jobs, and the private sector will look for a compelling investment case to invest the sums required.”

Guardian 18th Nov 2020 read more »

The UK prime minister’s new 10-point plan for a green recovery is a “far cry” from what is needed to get the country on track for net zero emissions by 2050, according to climate experts. The ten things put forward on Wednesday such as a ban on the sale of brand new petrol or diesel automobiles after 2030 will be the boldest sign however associated with governing bodies climate plan, but stop short of laying out a method for simple tips to remove all emissions out of the economic climate. Ed Miliband, shadow business secretary, said the funding cannot from another location meet the scale of what is needed to deal with the environment crisis. Germany features a 40bn environment plan, while France has determined that 30bn of its spending plan have a confident ecological impact. At the least two-thirds for the UK headline figure of 12bn in financing is recycled announcements, with only 3bn being new responsibilities.

FT 18th Nov 2020 read more »

Boris Johnson’s £12bn ten-point plan for a “green industrial revolution” has brought praise from environmental groups and plaudits from the construction and infrastructure sector. The government says that the plans, which were widely trailed in the media, will lead to the creation of 250,000 jobs, with many aimed at the north of England, Scotland, the Midlands and Wales. Eye-catching policies included a pledge to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, ten years ahead of the previous schedule and another pledge to quadruple offshore wind power capacity within a decade. The prime minister will have been particularly pleased by the response from Greenpeace to the announcement to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars which they described as signalling “the end of the road for polluting cars and vans and a historic turning point on climate action”.

Infrastructure Intelligence 18th Nov 2020 read more »

Dear Prime Minister. Radiation Free Lakeland are a small voluntary nuclear safety group in Cumbria. Inclusion of nuclear in the new green industrial revolution strikes us with absolute horror. In our experience there is nothing new, safe, clean or green about nuclear. Below we have summarised 10 Points Why you should Strike Nuclear Out of the “Green Industrial Revolution.” There are many more points but we have stuck with 10.

Radiation Free Lakeland 18th Nov 2020 read more »

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s 10 Point Plan for a “green industrial revolution” – announced yesterday – is “pretty vague” about the future of big nuclear energy projects and disappointing for the mini nuclear industry, according to Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit head of analysis Jonathan Marshall. In the plan, Johnson backed the development of nuclear energy, committing £525M “to help develop large and smaller-scale nuclear plants, and research and develop new advanced modular reactors”. However, according to Marshall large nuclear support is “buried” in the proposals and investment in small modular reactors (SMRs) is less than expected. “If I was in the SMR game I’d be disappointed with this because that £2bn support for a small initial fleet of reactors has been paired back to just over £500M,” Marshall said. “It’s a lot of cash and still a lot of support – it’s more than most unproven technologies get – but it feels a bit like SMRs have been put on the backburner now. For a while it felt like the government was believing that the SMR industry could be the future. “Pairing back on what was expected to be offered might show that the government is cooling or laying down a tougher set of challenges to Rolls Royce and others in the SMR world to prove the claims are true before they get more money.” Marshall attributed this change to the increasing support for renewables. “The EU has set out huge ambitions to boost offshore wind capacity, the UK has already done that, all the rest of the world is investing in renewables whereas not many are investing in nuclear now,” he said. “None of these cost reductions that were touted for years for nuclear industry seem to be happening whereas the evidence shows the cost of renewables is plummeting and the cost of what’s needed to balance the grid is plummeting too.”

New Civil Engineer 19th Nov 2020 read more »

Britain’s nuclear industry has welcomed a Government pledge to build new power stations but urged ministers to outline a more detailed strategy. As part of a green revolution, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is committed to building large and small nuclear reactors. The strategy promises to plough £525million into projects, which could support 10,000 jobs. And it would also provide ‘development funding’ for big power plants. The move could cut the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. But industry insiders and unions have criticised the lack of detail provided by the ‘half-painted’ blueprint, which has left question marks over whether major projects such as the new Sizewell C nuclear plant will be given a green light.

Daily Mail 18th Nov 2020 read more »

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set out a ten point plan for a green industrial revolution to create and support up to 250,000 British jobs. The PM says the blueprint will allow the UK to forge ahead with eradicating its contribution to climate change by 2050 and will mobilise £12bn of Government investment. It covers areas from low carbon energy production to ‘Jet Zero’ planes – potentially putting North Wales in a important position on any strategy. The region has a huge stake in nuclear with the potential for developments at Wylfa on Anglesey and Trawsfynydd in Gwynedd to bring hundreds of future jobs. Wylfa remains in a state of flux after the withdrawal of Hitachi from the project but developer Horizon Nuclear Power says “several parties” are interested in the site.

Daily Post 18th Nov 2020 read more »

There are notable omissions; onshore wind was not mentioned, although it is much cheaper than the offshore version. Something should have been said about ending UK financial support for fossil fuel projects overseas. There have been hints of announcements to that effect, but no action. More detail will be needed on how to effect a massive expansion of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. That is essential for achieving the target of ending sales of new diesel and petrol cars by 2030. A white paper is due by the end of the year, which should fill some of the gaps in the lofty rhetoric. The danger is that Mr Johnson underestimates the amount of work required to deliver his plans, or transfers his interest to some other political totem. That would be true to form. The ambition to preside over a green industrial revolution is the right one, but with the current prime minister there is no guarantee that it will evolve beyond laudable intent. The goal should be applauded, but vigilant attention needs paying to the small print, and pressure applied to do more and act faster.

Guardian 18th Nov 2020 read more »

Boris Johnson has offered the world a “template for tackling global climate change” and announced the UK will spend £4bn of new money pursuing a 10 point plan of environmental policies. The sum has been described as “beyond inadequate”, by Green Party co-leader Sian Berry, and pales in comparison to the government’s £27bn road building programme. The government’s plan, which includes banning the sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles by 2030, and planting 30,000 hectares of trees a year, was welcomed by the independent Climate Change Committee, though the committee has said £30bn a year is needed every year for 30 years, to meet the country’s legally-binding net zero emissions commitment by 2050. Ahead of the UN’s Cop26 climate conference, which the UK will host in Glasgow next year, international focus on the UK’s efforts to deal with the worsening climate crisis will be considerable. Following the announcement of the 10 point plan, CND issued a statement condemning the planned expansion of nuclear power. CND general secretary Kate Hudson said: “There is no clean nuclear. Whatever the size, nuclear power stations are dirty, dangerous, and expensive. We need to decarbonise as fast as possible, but the best way to do that is through huge investment in renewables.”

Independent 18th Nov 2020 read more »

Boris Johnson’s ‘green industrial revolution’ is our path to economic and political revival. The PM realises decarbonisation is a bonanza, not a threat and offers Britain a path to national regeneration. One thing you will not find on the Humber is many people with a bad word to say for offshore wind. The technology has brought a miraculous regeneration of neglected coastal towns. Grimsby was home to the world’s biggest fishing fleet as recently as the 1950s. A decade ago it was down to four boats. The vibrant Casbah was a ghost town. The community had hit absolute bottom, portrayed in Sacha Baron’s Cohen’s film Grimsby as a pit of social decay and alcoholic misery. Today the town is thriving as the operational hub for the vast Hornsea wind farms. Across the river in Hull, a Siemens Gamesa plant makes giant rotor blades in the biggest manufacturing plant built in this country this century. It anchors a reborn shipping industry that services the offshore turbines. Personally, I don’t like everything on Boris Johnson’s ten-point shopping list. It makes no sense to keep building big nuclear plants. “It is lunacy. The markets have already decided that new nuclear is not worth the risk,” says Tom Burke, chairman of E3G. Costs cannot be brought under control. The strike price for Hinkley Point is £92.50 per megawatt hour (2012 prices) compares to £39.50 for the latest North Sea wind auctions. As EDF’s former finance chief candidly admitted, the purpose of Hinkley was to save the insolvent French nuclear industry and get the British to pay for it. There is a national security case for small modular reactors as a way of shoring up the defence industry. There is no commercial case for two 1.6 gigawatt reactors at Sizewell C. Nobody is willing to build them without nosebleed subsidies. Much is made of the need for nuclear baseload power, but this concept is outdated. Mr Burke says nuclear increasingly gets in the way because the imperative is shifting to “flexibility”, requiring near instant response, meshed together with data analytics and digital demand management.

Telegraph 18th Nov 2020 read more »

What is questionable is not the ambition but the feasibility. The decision to ban the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles assumes that people will switch effortlessly to electric cars. But they will only do so if the infrastructure is available. The number of charging points is still woefully low and while it will rise as manufacturers switch away from petrol, the expansion will have to be rapid to meet the demand. Just as important is the development of battery technology. This will require the establishment of so-called gigafactories to produce them at scale, yet there are none in the UK though one is planned. The Chinese are building 38. Setting targets is one thing; creating the means of achieving them is quite another. We need far more detail about how the “green revolution” will be brought about.

Telegraph 18th Nov 2020 read more »

Green revolution will be a challenge and it won’t come cheap. The government’s plan commits to “advancing nuclear as a clean energy source”, backing large-scale nuclear plants and new small reactors. It offers £525 million of funding, but sets no targets for deployment. A few years ago ministers talked of a wave of new nuclear plants, with six planned around Britain but only one is under construction. It is not clear how many more are desired, but even getting one more under way will require a significant further financial commitment. EDF is seeking an “innovative funding arrangement” from the government to support its proposed £20 billion Sizewell plant in Suffolk; in practice this is likely to involve either an agreement that consumers will pay for it on their energy bills, or a direct multibillion pound investment by the taxpayer. For smaller reactors, too, more significant funding will be needed. Chris Lewis, infrastructure partner at EY, said: “Investment of over £40 billion is needed and the challenge remains over how to find it. The government must very quickly create a solid finance plan that can attract funds to replace the current generation of nuclear plants which will close by 2030. In the UK, we’ve had over 20 companies enter and then leave the nuclear power sector.”

Times 19th Nov 2020 read more »

Boris Johnson is pursuing ambitions of a “green industrial revolution” to create or maintain hundreds of thousands of jobs while driving Britain towards its target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. However, after publishing a ten-point plan spanning everything from nuclear’s advancement as an energy source to ending the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles in a decade, the prime minister knows that he needs the backing of the private sector. The investment plans of some of the world’s largest companies will play a critical role in ensuring that Downing Street’s dreams of transforming Britain into a green economic powerhouse come to fruition.

Times 19th Nov 2020 read more »

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