Press and media
ICEPT staff make regular contributions to the mainstream media and debate. Recent coverage includes:
31 MARCH IAIN STAFFELL INTERVIEWED ON BBC RADIO 4
Iain Staffell was interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Inside Science programme to discuss the challenges of scaling up solar power in the UK and the role of energy storage technologies (skip to 4'40").
22 October - Rob Gross is quoted in a Guardian blog post
The Guardian (blog post by Damian Carrington, 22 October) - "'The government confirms that it is not continuing the 'no public subsidy policy' [for nuclear power] of the previous administration'. That little footnote, tucked away at the end of the announcement of Wednesday's French-Chinese deal to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley point, detonates an atomic bomb under the UK government's already bewildering energy policy and leaves ministers hunkered down in a nuclear bunker. .. Ministers also say they are committed to cutting carbon from the UK energy supply, but that protecting consumers from higher energy bills is vital. Not many would disagree, so why are ministers all but banning new onshore wind farms, the cheapest form of green energy? It was a manifesto commitment, says the government, presumably included to appease the minority of people who oppose wind farms. On Wednesday night, the House of Lords disagreed and voted down the Conservative's anti-wind rules... It's a mess. But don't worry, say ministers, we will shortly be announcing new policies - a 'reset'. Except this explodes the most precious of all commodities in the energy system: investor confidence. 'A reset is unnecessary and would create delays to investment and increase political risks,' say the energy policy experts Dr Rob Gross [Centre for Environmental Policy] and Prof Jim Watson [UK Energy Research Centre]."
21 October - Dr Rob Gross contributes to a report on Channel 4 news (video)
Following a vote by peers to scrap government plans to end subsidies for on-shore wind farms
17 October - Anika Ali has an article published in the Dhaka Tribune
Energy efficiency is a line of thinking which ideally needs to run parallel to efforts for increasing energy production. This article summarizes the key initiatives undertaken by UK and China in this regard.
22 August - Anika Ali has an article published in the Dhaka Tribune
Energy is the most talked about issue these days in the context of the growing world population, climate change, and the need to reduce our carbon footprint. This article summarizes some recent opinions and views in the field of energy and climate change.
24 June - Dr Iain Staffell was quoted in the International Business Times as one of the contributors to a new report on climate change, Bridging The Gap
According to the article, the report looks at how “the technology that is essential for the UK to meet its carbon targets is making little progress and will put both Britain and Europe far from their climate goals.” Dr Staffell said: “You could argue that nobody has made good ground on this. There is only one power station with CCS operating in Canada and two under construction in the US.” He pointed out that “the UK is leading the way in Europe, as we have three out of the four projects undergoing design studies. A decision on whether to invest in either of the main projects will be made in 2016.” International Business Times (IBTimes) delivers international business news to an audience of over 5 million people in the U.K. and 50 million people worldwide every month through its network of digital publishing platforms.
20 October - The COP21 climate change calculator developed by Jem Woods and others is published by the FT
The calculator, developed by ICEPT staff and colleagues el provides an interactive description of how global and national efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the period 2013-2100 could impact global temperatures. Using the tool, you can track and project greenhouse gas emissions from major economies over the period 1990-2100. Emission values for each country for the period 1870-2012 are built into the tool but you can set your own emissions trajectories on a country-by-country basis for the periods 2013-2030, 2030-2050 and 2050-2100 to see when, where and how much action must be taken in order to limit warming to different levels. For each country these values range from a high emissions projection in the absence of any climate change action, to those required from each country in order to meet the global 2°C goal. There are large uncertainties about the extent to which emissions will and can change for all countries in the absence of climate change action, and about what each country should or could do to limit warming, our model does not allow the users to explore these uncertainties. To learn more about the underlying data, methodology for computation of temperature values and key messages from the COP21 calculator please click on: http://ig.ft.com/sites/climate-change-calculator/
5 October - Robert Gross is quoted in the Guardian
"Lack of clarity is damaging investment in renewable energy, as well as gas and nuclear," says Director of Imperial College London’s Centre for Energy Policy and Technology.
18 September - - Robert Gross is quoted in the Guardian on the prospects for UK coal phase out
"Will the UK phase out coal in a decade?" The Guardian - "The government is wrong to assume its existing policies will be enough to phase out coal power in the UK, analysts have told the Guardian. Minister for energy and climate change Andrea Leadsom said this week that her department expected unabated (meaning without carbon capture) coal would make up just 1% of the country’s electricity generation by 2025... But this prediction is not reinforced by a mandatory end date for electricity generation from coal... Robert Gross [Centre for Environmental Policy], director of Imperial College’s Centre for Energy Policy and Technology, said relying on existing policies and the market for cleaner technologies left the door open for coal generation to continue beyond 2030. 'There’s a considerable range of uncertainty about how much coal will be retained on the system. And if it’s at the upper end of the range of possibilities then its going to absolutely blow the carbon budget,' he said. A 2014 report prepared by Gross found that the range of coal generation expected to remain on the system was dependent on the price of carbon set by the government in future. With a low carbon price, coal would continue to provide 19% of electricity in 2025, down from roughly a third in 2013. A high carbon price would reduce coal generation to 3%."
13 December - Robert Gross was quoted in the Independent discussing the recent fall in global oil prices:
"As the price of a barrel falls below $60, the cost of petrol and other household staples is set to tumble. But the long-term impact on wind, solar and hydro-power energy could be catastrophic for the planet... The falling price of fossil fuel may also damage the prospects for Britain's fledgling shale industry as fracking is a relatively expensive way to extract hydrocarbons and it may not be economic to do so, warned Dr Rob Gross [Centre for Environmental Policy], director of the Centre of Energy and Technology at Imperial College, London."
14 October - Robert Gross was quoted in The Guardian discussing UK electricity sector capacity margins:
"There is perhaps no greater nightmare for government and industry than the spectre of blackouts. In the 1970s, rolling power cuts caused by coal strikes led to the three-day working week and the eventual collapse of government. Since then, keeping the lights on has been a priority. But it’s a task that’s getting ever harder, especially amid rising tensions between Europe and Russia, one of the continent’s main oil and gas suppliers... Dr Robert Gross [Centre for Environmental Policy], director of the centre for energy policy and technology at Imperial College London, says: 'It is very unlikely that the UK will experience power cuts due to inadequate generating capacity. However in the period of 2015-16 the risk of power cuts will be considerably higher than historically, because the UK is closing old coal-fired power stations but has been slow to build new gas-fired power stations.' Gross says efforts by the National Grid to ensure mothballed gas plants are brought back into service, as well as persuading customers to cut back on their demand for energy, has minimised what could otherwise have been larger risks."
11 September - Robert Gross was quoted in the Independent (p18) discussing the impact of fracking on local communities:
"The anti-fracking movement has seen off a proposed development in the South Downs National Park, after it was unanimously blocked by the planning authorities in the face of increasing public resistance. The planning committee strongly rejected the application to explore for oil or gas at the protected West Sussex village of Fernhurst made by the fracking company Celtique Energie. The company has raised the prospect of a prolonged battle, however, by threatening to appeal to Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles... Robert Gross, director of the Centre of Energy and Technology [Centre for Environmental Policy] at Imperial College London, added: 'As we've seen with wind farms and new power lines, local communities do not welcome intrusions in the landscape. Fracking has the added disadvantage that it is seen as 'dirty' rather than green. The Government will have tough job to push through a fracking boom.'"
29 July - Robert Gross was quoted in the Independent discussing the commercial benefits of fracking:
"With the Government kicking off a massive auction of fracking licences covering nearly half the country, it is clear that the shale oil and gas industry has come a long way – but it remains far from certain that a single molecule of hydrocarbon will ever be produced commercially. Robert Gross [Centre for Environmental Policy], the director of the Centre for Energy and Technology at Imperial College London, says the Government appears to have become less optimistic recently about the industry’s potential. 'I think the rhetoric softened when the evidence mounted that the impact on UK gas prices would be moderated by our geography,' he said. 'The US, where prices have come down dramatically, has large shale production and no capabilities for export. But the UK has much more modest production potential and is integrated into the European gas grid. This means that UK shale would be sold into an EU market and any impact on price would be far more marginal,' Mr Gross added.
19 May - Robert Gross and Professor Jim Watson (ICEPT affiliate and Director of UKERC) had letters published in the Times on the subject of energy security and the role of shale gas:
(Letters to the Editor) The Times (p 29) - Letters published by Professor Jim Watson (UK Energy Research Centre) and Dr Robert Gross (Centre for Environmental Policy). Professor Watson writes: "Sir, It is untrue that investment in electricity has halted — there has been significant investment in the UK’s renewable energy capacity in the last few years. Renewables now account for around 15 per cent of our electricity. Second, power cuts in 2015-16 are not 'virtually inevitable'. While capacity margins are falling, blackouts would be a worst-case scenario. Short-term measures are being put in place by the National Grid to avoid this, though they are far from ideal. Even if shale gas is developed in the UK, it is unlikely to have a large impact on our energy supplies or prices for many years, and we will have to limit use of gas to tackle climate change." Dr Gross writes: "Sir, The complexities of the energy industry lead the sane to believe in fairies that will deliver us from high prices, a war somewhere, climate change, acid rain, etc: nuclear fusion, the Severn Barrage, low energy light bulbs, hydrogen, and now shale gas. Shale gas is important, but it cannot solve all our energy problems. It will be not very green and quite expensive. Energy policy has real problems. It is like real life — boring, complicated, requiring difficult choices, never-quite-finished, and expensive."
26 June - Robert Gross commented on UK government data showing record renewable energy production:
The Independent p1 and p7- "Britain is in the midst of a green energy revolution after production soared to record levels, according to new figures which deal a blow to opponents of renewable energy and a potential boost for consumers. The amount of electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind, solar and hydro has soared by 43 per cent in the past year to account for a fifth of production, as newly-built plants came on stream and the weather became windier, the Office for National Statistics has said... 'Even if the latest figures were helped by the mild, wet and windy weather, such a high level of renewable energy would have seemed almost inconceivable a decade ago. Renewable energy is now on a par with nuclear in terms of its importance as a power generator,' said Dr Robert Gross [Centre for Environmental Policy and EFL], the director of the Centre for Energy and Technology at Imperial College London."
6 March - Robert Gross commented on reporting of the Environmental Audit Committee review of investment in energy generation in the UK:
The Independent - "The political will to tackle climate change is so low that investors are happy to plough huge amounts of money into fossil fuel projects but fearful to back green energy initiatives – even though the reverse needs to happen if the world is to have any chance of meeting its agreed objective to limit global warming to 2C. That is the conclusion of a new parliamentary report, which finds that a £100bn hole has opened up in Britain's green energy finances, with investment in renewable power generation such as wind turbines and solar panels running at less than half the level required this decade... The Environmental A udit Committee report blames the Government's inconsistent approach to supporting green energy for the lack of financial backing... Robert Gross [Centre for Environmental Policy], the director of the Centre for Energy and Technology at Imperial College London, said: 'The 'carbon bubble' and the 'finance gap' for low carbon power are two sides of the same coin: investors don't yet believe that politicians are serious about climate change... The financial community overvalues oil and gas companies and is yet to get serious enough about low carbon power.'"
10 November - ICEPT's report for the UK Energy Research Centre features in Edie.net:
"Investment in renewables and energy efficiency can create up to 10 times as many jobs per unit of electricity as investment in fossil fuels, finds a new report. The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) analysed data from fifty studies published since 2000 on the relationship between green energy investment and job creation in the USA, Europe and China... 'The green jobs debate has always been vexed - often because it has been argued between entities with vested interests and because analysis is too short-term or provides an incomplete picture,' said Dr Rob Gross, from Imperial College London, one of the authors of the report."
- Malcolm Grimston appeared on Voice of America to discuss the impact of regional conflict on Uranium supply.
- Robert Gross was quoted in the Independent in an article on Labour’s support for CCS.
- Jamie Speirs was quoted in the Independent in an article on shale gas.
- Robert Gross was quoted in the Independent in article on the government’s support for longer term targets for renewable energy and carbon abatement.
- Robert Gross was quoted in the Guardian in a comment piece on the government’s gas strategy.
- Robert Gross appeared on Newsnight in an item about the economics of wind power.
- Robert Gross was interview on BBC R4 You and Yours to discuss the impact of green policies on consumer bills.
- Robert Gross appeared on Channel 4 News to discuss the Crown Estate/government cost reduction task force on offshore wind.
- Dr Robert Gross provided a comment piece in the Guardian on policy support for low carbon innovation
- Dr Robert Gross was signatory to an open letter on the CCS Levy which appeared in the Financial Times in October 2010
- ICEPT's report on offshore wind, produced for UKERC was widely reported in the UK press and media. Examples include:
ICEPT staff have also provided comment in media including the BBC R4 Today Programme, BBC TV news, Sky News, BBC News Channel and regional press.
- Earlier UKERC Technology and Policy Assessment reports have also received widespread television, radio, print and online media coverage. Examples include:
- October 2009 – Steve Sorrell and Dr Robert Gross interviews following the launch of the Global Oil Depletion report (‘Peak Oil’) on the BBC R4 Today programme, BBC1 World Business News and the BBC World Service .
- November 2007 – Steve Sorrell and Dr Robert Gross interviews following the launch of the Rebound report on the BBC World Service and Sky News. Also reported on the BBC R4 Today programme.
- April 2006 - Professor Jim Skea, Professor Tim Green and Dr Robert Gross interviews following the launch of the Intermittency report on the BBC R4 Today programme, BBC R5 and BBC1 News.
- Dr Judith Cherni by invitation, has been contributing short articles (about 600 words) to the International Business Times, IBTimes, on-line newspaper in the last months. Most (if not all) the articles have been published as Feature articles