Afterword Sustainable Energy The Challenge of Choice

What are our possible energy futures Which directions are open to us, and which closed How should we prioritise the challenges posed by climate change, nuclear risk, toxic pollution and landscape impact How to reconcile these with economic competitiveness, energy security, poverty reduction and democratic choice Which mixes of technologies and policies offer the best balance of pros and cons Whose knowledges, values and judgements should we best trust as a guide When and how should we decide In...

Box 111 Key terms in emissions trading schemes

In an emissions trading scheme, the generic term for the unit of trade is an 'emissions permit'. These fall into two broad categories. Emission 'allowances' are normally allocated to sources and must cover all of the emissions from the source, while emissions 'credits' are generated when a source reduces emissions below an agreed emissions baseline. Allowance schemes allow all emissions to be traded, while credit schemes only allow emission reductions to be traded. In an allowance scheme, the...

Energy Governance The Challenges of Sustainability

The argument in this chapter is that post-privatisation energy governance is struggling with the challenges of sustainable energy. Institutions developed for the earlier job of liberalisation are not necessarily the best for the new task of promoting sustainability (Mitchell, 2007). Yet energy policymakers are proving reluctant to discard principles embedded and embodied in privatised and liberalised energy systems, especially the taboos of explicit technology choice (for details see Chapter...

Microgeneration

Micro-generation is the generation of heat or electricity at the household, business or local community scale. It uses technologies such as solar PV or thermal panels, micro wind turbines, biomass technologies, ground- and air-source heat pumps and micro-CHP. It allows households to become energy generators, and provides electricity or heat at the point of demand. In the UK 20 per cent of domestic GHG emissions arise from water heating, and another 50 per cent from space heating. Solar...

Less wasteful choices

Analysis of energy systems is traditionally split between supply (which happens in power stations, gas fields and so on) and demand (which comes from households, businesses and other energy users). Policy largely concentrates on the first half of this equation, aiming to ensure supply meets whatever demand arises. Energy users have historically had a passive role and little choice over how they fit in to this system. Almost all UK households are linked to the national electricity grid, and have...

Resource interdependencies between energy actors

Actors must continually coordinate in order to achieve an objective, given the social distribution of relevant problem solving and political resources. We saw earlier how central government policy actors seeking the deployment of more renewable energy depend upon the technological and financial resources of others. This requires human resources in the form of a skilled workforce (whose training is led by others still), organisational resources in the form of clear and straightforward planning...

Jim Watson

The transition towards a more sustainable society will require the development and deployment of a range of new and existing energy technologies - from centralised supply side options such as CCS, through infrastructure technologies that underpin decentralised energy networks, to household technologies such as LED (light-emitting diode) lighting and micro-generation. This chapter discusses technology assessment, choice and incentives for a more sustainable UK energy system. The key questions...

Sustainable use and supply A role for energy citizens

Energy policy debate focuses largely on what governments can achieve on behalf of society. However, concern about climate change is growing throughout society and many communities and individuals are beginning to take initiatives for themselves, becoming engaged with energy issues as producers and as citizens, not just as consumers. Energy policy has key roles to play in encouraging and facilitating such a transition, and in removing obstacles to such initiatives. Where people are offered...

References

Note All Internet addresses accessed 25 June 2008 Ackermann, T. (2004) 'Distributed resources in a re-regulated market environment', PhD thesis, Department of Electrical Engineering, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm. Ackermann, T., Andersson, G. and S der, L. (2001) 'Distributed generation A definition', Electricity Power Systems Research 57, 195-204. Adams, W. M., Brockington, D., Dyson, J. and Vira, B. (2003) 'Managing tragedies Understanding conflict over common pool...

Box 11 Climate change mitigation in developing countries

Many developing countries share the OECD's concern to find ways to cut GHG emissions, but also face pressing problems relating to access to energy supplies, local environmental pollution and energy security. Energy efficiency measures and low carbon energy sources can be used in ways that both cut emissions and help meet these other policy priorities. Realising this interdependence is vital to the success of any future international framework to tackle climate change. Technological and...

Raphael Sauter and Dierk Bauknecht

An increased share of distributed electricity generation could contribute substantially to lower carbon emissions, simultaneously improving energy security. Despite increasing interest in distributed generation (DG) its deployment has been slow so far in many industrialised countries, with some notable exceptions such as Denmark and the Netherlands. In most industrialised countries DG is seen, at best, as a complement to frameworks of centralised electricity generation. Low growth rates for DG...

Lessons from the UK on Urgency and Legitimacy in Energy Policymaking

This chapter uses the recent history of UK energy policymaking to illustrate wider themes in this book. In the face of the urgency of climate change, the central question for policymaking is how to combine radical action with strengthened legitimacy and consent. The UK case shows how it may be possible to start travelling along this difficult road, but that subsequently it is easy to over-emphasise urgency at the expense of legitimacy and thus risk overall failure. After a brief overview of...

Ivan Scrase and David Ockwell

In this chapter the argument is that moving towards low carbon, sustainable energy use will require a critical look at the framing of energy policy. 'Framing' here means the assumptions made, and the ways in which policy debates 'construct', emphasise and link particular issues. For example, energy 'security of supply' is often emphasised in arguments favouring nuclear generated electricity. A more limited framing effect operates on individuals in opinion polls and public referendums here the...

Benefits and costs

The variety of technologies and possible deployment arrangements highlight that a set of issues needs to be considered when assessing the potential benefits and costs of an increased share of DG (including micro-generation) in the electricity system. This subsection explores in more detail two likely benefits of DG lower carbon emissions and increased energy security. These are then discussed in terms of expected costs for new generation capacity and network upgrades. The discussion identifies...

Energy policy in context

Although fuel and electricity account for a relatively modest part of national economies and household budgets, energy is absolutely central to everyday life. Almost like the air we breathe, its fundamental importance is such that most are fortunate enough to take it for granted. This is the case at least until the lights go out or the price goes up sharply, reminding us that the mobility, comfort and economic growth to which we are accustomed depend wholly upon the continued supply of low-cost...

Development

It would be wrong to imply that developing countries' energy policy choices are completely constrained by World Bank conditionality, or that those countries must inevitably comply with advice. As part of the recent shift away from market-based policies in various parts of the world, there has been greater resistance by a number of governments to the sorts of policies recommended, often as a result of those policies failing to deliver. Nor is the World Bank without its own internal critics there...