SSE – npower merger: moving the industry chess pieces

A lot is written about the changing shape of the GB power market, with increasing decentralisation, and a shift away from large units of synchronous generation to more dispersed often intermittent renewable generation. Rather less is written about the changing commercial environment on the retail side of the business. The proposed merger of the retail…

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Further evidence that climate models overstate global warming

Yesterday scientists from the Universities of Exeter and Oxford together with University College London, announced that climate change is not as bad as previously thought due to modelling errors. In a paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience, the scientists concluded that global climate models used in the 2013 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on…

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The writing is on the wall for coal generation

The UK broke new ground on Friday 21 April 2017 seeing the first continuous 24-hour period since the industrial revolution when coal made no contribution to the power sector. The country which led the way in the introduction of coal for electricity generation with the opening of Thomas Edison’s Holborn Viaduct power station in London in…

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Building energy efficiency forecasts appear to be largely useless

Following on from my previous post on energy efficiency, I was very interested to read about a recent study by the University of Bath which shows a significant gap between the forecast energy efficiency of new buildings and their actual performance once in use. “A correlation analysis indicated little correlation between which variables were thought…

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New York REV: a case study in whole system re-design

I have highlighted in recent posts some areas of regulatory reform that are needed in order to deliver the energy transition at the lowest possible cost. This is a complex challenge, so it is interesting to consider the work going on in the State of New York, where there a serious attempt to fully re-design…

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Disruptive innovations in the energy sector

13 April 1892 saw the birth of Robert Watson-Watt, the inventor of radar, and descendant of Scottish inventor James Watt after whom the unit of power was named. Also on this day in 1960 the first satellite navigation system was launched and a decade later in 1970, the oxygen tanks on Apollo 13 exploded leading…

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Decarbonisation of transport: exploiting seasonal phenomena

I’ve recently written about the work of the Energy Policy group at Exeter University, however another team at Exeter is exploring a novel way of transport which has significant benefits in terms of speed and efficiency, while also having very low carbon emissions. Geophysicist, Dr Katy Sheen of the University’s geography department has been studying…

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Intriguing ideas and energy innovations of the future

  The energy sector is undergoing a period of significant change with the rapid emergence and adoption of renewable technologies, notably solar PV and wind. Developments in storage promise significant disruptions in the medium term, alongside smart grids, and by the mid 2020s we could see new generation nuclear technologies and tidal power adding to…

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