Accountabilities in energy governance

Any increased authority on the part of sustainable energy leaders must be accompanied by greater accountability and legitimacy. Historically, energy governance has tended to be highly technocratic. Specialist partnerships and policy networks dominate decisions. The governance literature notes that as the number of actors and complexities involved increases, lines of accountability become both more baroque and less clear-cut. 'Fragmentation erodes accountability because sheer institutional...

Beyond the connection of DG

As the share of DG grows, what is required is not only to connect DG plants to the existing network, but to adapt the network structure. As long as DG penetration remains small, the main question is where and how it can best be connected to the existing network, and how network operators can be encouraged to connect these new generators. As DG penetration increases, it becomes necessary to not just connect plants to the network, but to integrate them into network operation. In other words, DG...

Carbon capture and storage

CCS means removing CO2 from power station flue gases and storing it in depleted oil and gas fields, deep saline aquifers or unmineable coal seams. Technically the processes of CO2 capture, transport and storage in geological structures are known to be feasible, and are already used in the oil industry to enhance oil recovery from depleted onshore fields. Scaling these up and integrating them so as to remove CO2 from large power stations (and to sequester it) appears possible, and could make a...

Climate change in a global perspective

Media reports often give the impression that the jury is still out on whether climate change is a real threat. However as Stern (2006a, p. i) notes, the scientific evidence 'is now overwhelming climate change presents very serious global risks, and it demands an urgent global response'. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (IPCC, 2007a) reports that global average temperatures are already 0.7 C above the pre-industrial level, with another 0.5 C of warming 'in the pipeline' as a...

Distributed generation

What is the potential role of DG in a sustainable electricity system This section defines what DG is and which technologies are involved, and discusses the benefits and costs of an increased share of DG in the electricity supply mix. At the end of the section a brief description of the experiences with DG in Denmark provides a practical example of the points made it shows how the transition towards a high share of DG in an electricity system can be achieved in a relatively short period of time.

Energy Policy Implications

Ivan Scrase, Florian Kern, Markku Lehtonen, Gordon MacKerron, Mari Martiskainen, Francis McGowan, David Ockwell, Raphael Sauter, Adrian Smith, Steve Sorrell, Tao Wang and Jim Watson Over 20 years ago UN Commission on Environment and Development called on governments around the world to make sustainable development their first priority. The 'Brundtland Report' provided a definition still regularly quoted in policy documents committing governments to the aim. Sustainable development is D...

The EU Emissions Trading Scheme

At present, around 45 per cent of EU CO2 emissions are covered by the EU ETS (Box 11.2). The success of European (and perhaps global) climate policy for the foreseeable future will largely depend upon how this scheme evolves, including in particular the stringency of the overall cap and the mechanisms chosen for allowance allocation. The EU ETS is expanding over time to cover more sectors and GHGs, as well as establishing links with trading schemes in other countries. It has already become the...

Radical shifts in energy governance in the past

It is instructive to recall that radical changes to the governance of energy have occurred in the past (see also Chapter 1). In many countries, a patchwork of local energy systems, created under municipal and private ownership during the early twentieth century, were consolidated and centralised through policy processes. In countries such as the UK and others, this process culminated in large nationalised energy industries after the Second World War. Up until the 1990s energy problems were...

Carbon Trading

This chapter discusses the role of carbon trading in climate policy, focusing in particular on Europe and the UK. It argues that carbon trading schemes are central to climate policy now and are likely to become increasingly important in the future. They have the potential to either drive effective climate policy or to wreck it. Without meaningful targets in trading schemes, the contribution of many other climate policy measures to emission reductions could be nullified. The chapter begins by...

Global Energy Solutions

Francis McGowan, David Ockwell, Gordon MacKerron, Jim Watson, Markku Lehtonen and Ivan Scrase Rapidly cutting domestic GHG emissions is the most pressing energy policy challenge in industrialised countries, but it is global emissions, including those from developing countries, that will determine the extent of future climate change. Agreement on global action to cut emissions has so far been difficult to achieve, largely because of US intransigence at Federal level, but also because developing...

Different approaches for different technologies

One important dimension of the risk profiles of different technologies is the extent to which they are commercially proven. Technologies such as the CCGT power plant, or the highly efficient domestic refrigerators, are well established and understood. By contrast, CCS and the fuel cell hybrid car are not. Therefore, policies to support low carbon technologies need to take their stage of development into account. For some, this would be entirely wrong (Helm, 2006). Their view is that as long as...

Box 113 Key elements of the European Commissions proposals for Phase 3 of the EU ETS

Phase 3 to last from 2013 to 2020, with the cap declining by 1.7 per cent each year. Emissions in 2020 to be capped at 1720 MtCO2 -approximately 21 per cent below 2005 emissions and 11 per cent below the Phase 2 cap. The cap to be tightened upon the conclusion of a future international agreement on climate change that includes ambitious targets for developed countries. Full auctioning of allowances from 2013 for electricity generation and oil refineries. In other sectors, 80 per cent of...

Learning experimentation and accountability

Rather than prematurely trying to identify the 'best instrument' or the 'most efficient technology' to move towards a sustainable energy system, there is an ongoing need for flexibility, experimentation and learning. Rather than settle on solutions on the basis of costs (or cost projections), more effort should be expended on R& D and commercialisation of promising technologies, so as to drive down their costs. In addition to such 'learning by doing' (see e.g. Gross, 2004 Klaassen et al.,...

Series Editors Preface

Concerns about the potential environmental, social and economic impacts of climate change have led to a major international debate over what could and should be done to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. There is still a scientific debate over the likely scale of climate change, and the complex interactions between human activities and climate systems, but global average temperatures have risen and the cause is almost certainly the observed build up of atmospheric greenhouse gases. In the...

World energy use and carbon emissions

Measured on a thermal equivalent basis, the world used the equivalent of 11 million tonnes of oil (mtoe) in 2005 (IEA, 2006c). Roughly 80 per cent of this was supplied by fossil fuels, with oil accounting for 35 per cent, coal 25 per cent and gas 21 per cent (Table 1.1). Another ten per cent was derived from solid biomass, largely wood, dung and crop residues used for fuel in developing countries. The remainder was supplied by nuclear power (six per cent), hydropower (two per cent) and other...

Sigrid Stagl

Preventing dangerous climate change must be the priority for energy policy. The context is difficult, however, with rapid growth in energy demand around the world and growing fears about the security of supplies (see Chapter 1). Moreover, the urgency with which climate change must be tackled threatens to strain the principles of democratic government. This book focuses on explaining these issues and suggesting ways forward as governments come up against these trade-offs and tensions....

Earlier energy crises

In 1973 4 a combination of Middle East conflict and concerted action by OPEC pushed up oil prices dramatically - almost five-fold in two years. Prices doubled in just one month at the end of 1973. Oil had been relatively cheap since the Second World War, and industrialised nations had become dependent on supplies from international markets. The price increase had serious short-term economic effects, and also raised questions about national and global longer-term dependence on finite fossil fuel...

Box 102 The green citizen

'Green citizens' are likely to live in a 'cohousing' setting, where individually owned dwellings share facilities such as children's play grounds, laundry units and gardening equipment. The buildings are constructed using sustainable materials such as locally sourced wood or straw, have double or triple-glazed windows and use energy efficient lighting and appliances. The building takes advantage of passive solar heating by capturing sunlight through south facing windows and sun pipes. Walls and...

Empowering energy policy

This chapter has sketched some generic challenges confronting attempts to transform energy systems into sustainable forms. A number of features were suggested. The first was the technocratic nature of energy policy it tends to be a backwater political issue except when in trouble, when more diverse actors, including political leaders, enter the fray, each with their own rationales, priorities, and capabilities. Second, the current interest in a transition to sustainable energy systems is...

Gordon Mac Kerron

SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research Editorial matter and selection Ivan Scrase and Gordon MacKerron 2009 All remaining chapters respective authors 2009 All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this publication may be made without written permission. No portion of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted save with written permission or in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, or under the terms of any...

Box 72 The Dutch energy transition process

In 2001 the Dutch government announced in its Fourth National Environmental Policy Plan that structural change in its energy system is necessary to solve persistent environmental problems such as climate change. The plan aims for a 40-60 per cent cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. It recognises that such change comes about through 'long drawn-out transformation processes comprising technological, economic, socio-cultural and institutional changes' (VROM, 2001, p....

Francis McGowan

The recent revival of interest in energy policy is driven by a combination of concerns about the security of future sources of energy supply and also about the consequences of using those resources, particularly their contribution to climate change. Yet the ability of energy policy makers to address these problems faces major challenges. This is partly because the energy economy is the aggregate outcome of the choices of millions of energy consumers, whether individual citizens or firms, and...

Carbon trading and industrial competitiveness

The potential impact of emissions trading schemes on the competitiveness of individual companies, industrial sectors and the economy as a whole is an enduring focus of debate. Since the contribution of carbon energy costs to industrial competitiveness depends upon a host of fac-tors4, the impacts of introducing a trading scheme are hard to predict, may be greater in the short term than in the long term, and may easily be overstated by well organised and influential lobby groups. This can lead...

A discourse perspective

There are two key reasons why a linear, objective view of the policy process fails to adequately explain energy policymaking, even on apparently scientific or technical issues both facts and values are misconstrued to sustain this view. Scientific knowledge is impressive in many areas, but with policy problems there is very often a significant degree of uncertainty and the evidence almost never provides 'the answer'. For example, ecosystems that may be important to protect are unique, and...

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...