• The Government has accepted fully the recommendations of the Climate Change Committee for its Sixth Carbon Budget.
  • Hydrogen and heat strategies are expected to be announced by the Government before the summer recess.
  • Wave Hub is for sale in Cornwall or will be decommissioned.
  • Several demonstrator programmes for low carbon energy have been announced by BEIS including floating wind (potentially in the SW if an applicant includes wave hub) and carbon capture and storage.
  • The Welsh Government has announced a tidal lagoon challenge which may see it invest c £200m to support a tidal lagoon coming to fruition.
  • National Grid have purchased Western Power Distribution and are selling their high pressure gas network – which signals that they believe the future is in electricity rather than gas.

Energy comes in many forms including fossil fuels (gas, oil and coal), renewables (hydro, heat pumps, wind and solar), waste / biomass and nuclear.

The production of electricity, transport fuels, and heat are particularly relevant to infrastructure. Ten years ago these three sectors contributed more or less equally to carbon emissions. Since then – while the transport and heat sector emissions remain approximately a third of all emissions – electricity emissions have reduced by half and could be decarbonised completely by 2030.

There are several challenges facing energy.

  1. Firstly, how do you decarbonize the heat and transport sectors in an affordable and sustainable way?
  2. Secondly, if you use electricity to decarbonise heat and transport emissions, how can you rapidly increase electricity generation capacity and transmission / distribution networks?
  3. And what place will hydrogen fuel have in displacing use of fossil fuels? Because of its characteristics it is more likely that hydrogen fuel would be reserved for applications that electricity is unable to service effectively (such as Heavy Goods Vehicles).

Continued electrification of the railways is likely to be a more cost effective option for rail transport.