guynewey Profile picture
22 Nov, 21 tweets, 5 min read
Some reflections on the PM's 10-point climate plan, now I have had a chance to read the main document thoroughly (including trying to read between the lines).…
First, to underline the points I made in this thread. This is a big step forward in ambition. It shows evidence the Government is willing to take political risk, most obviously with the 2030 decision on ICEs.

What else? The announcement of the taskforce contained important language: 'To drive our progress towards this national priority, the Prime Minister will establish a new Task Force Net Zero, putting a systems approach at the heart of our thinking.'
Taking a systems approach is something Government has been exploring for a while. The excellent Council for Science and Technology Paper describe how such an approach could work in practice.…
My musings on the issue below: the need for new in-market test environments; importance of consumers and design thinking; that integration of technologies is as important an innovation challenge as developing new tech; integrating new digital tech…
The systems approach was most obviously championed by Dominic Cummings. Will his departure diminish its salience? I don't think so, partly because it responded to a genuine challenge that civil servants have been struggling with for a while when approaching net zero....
... How do we join all this stuff up and make sure it works? A key test for the taskforce is whether it can help embed a systems approach to Net Zero, without a key political sponsor. I am optimistic....
(BTW this is the kind of policy/practical issue that really matters but does not get much attention in all the hubbub about departing spads, as @jameskirkup pointed out recently.)…
On buildings, the plan was less cooked, unsurprisingly. Heat and Buildings Strategy still to come, which hopefully will set out more detail on how to achieve excellent ambition like the 600k heat pumps by 2028 target. Full spending review delay could be a problem for ambition.
Most intriguing was the line that followed the target: "creating a market-led incentive framework to drive growth, and will bring forward regulations to support this especially in off gas grid properties..."
This is the first time there has been such forward-leaning language on market-driven solutions/regulation on heat, I think (happy to be corrected)....
There are basically four options for where you could put a heat decarb obligation: gas grid, manufacturers of heating tech (akin to automakers carbon standards), suppliers or on building owners themselves.....
In our '6 Steps to Decarbonising Buildings' work we came down on giving building owners the ultimate obligation, starting with social housing and probably commercial building owners, giving plenty of notice to homeowners…
Any kind of obligation could be transformative. It would give suppliers and others the confidence to invest in low carbon heating propositions and services that people want -- unleashing market innovation. More investable that a carbon price, I would argue. But political risk..
There is also significant money (or suggestion of future money) for social housing, public sector and off-gas grid properties, as well as Green Home Grant extension. Which is all to be welcomed (already seeing more clean heat adverts)....
But in order for people to spend money on training for low carbon heating engineers, this needs to be multi-year (or with a clear market driver), as per recent @betateachpod on-the-ground discussion with @Your_Energy_YW.
In the rhetorical heating horse-race between hydrogen and heat pumps (perhaps the most boring race in history), this document probably leans slightly towards hydrogen. Hydrogen towns could be a galvanising project, but there needs to be much more sub-national action.
The challenge for heat pumps remains as it ever was: creating compelling consumer propositions that help make an unfamiliar technology easy and desirable for consumers. (And we never talk enough about heat networks)....
And the confirmation of the £1bn innovation budget is fantastic news. Reminder that this was doubled in 2015 Spending Review and now doubled again. Also reflects the hard yards the department has done on assessing Net Zero innovation needs.…
But innovation will only be unleashed at the pace and scale required when there are clear markets to sell into. The 10-point plan is unsurprisingly tech focused. Things like market reform and code bodies are not exactly PM announcement territory.
And, so, attention now shifts to the Energy White Paper and the other climate publications over the next 6 months, inc. the update to the Clean Growth Strategy. The challenge is to knit all these announcements into a credible, whole system plan. Going to be a big 12 months...

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More from @guynewey

18 Nov
Some thoughts on the PM 10-point package. First, the politics. This is the first substantial climate intervention by a PM since the start of the coalition. That matters. It gives a clear signal outside and, just as importantly, inside Government that this is a priority....
Second, the 2030 ban on new ICE cars and vans is a huge step, and carries real political risk. This underlines the seriousness of intent. Such a regulatory move is much more important for innovators/investors than subsidy, which is why moans about money committed is overdone....
It also underlines the 'dance' between innovation and policy. Imagine trying to do this 10 years ago when G-Whizzes were pottering around. Much easier with Model 3s on the streets, and prices falling. The regulatory move now confirms that innovation-driven transition.
Read 11 tweets
18 Sep
A thread on nuclear in the UK, in light of the unsurprising, although disappointing, decision by Hitachi to walk away from Wylfa....
Our analysis @EnergySysCat finds that the strategic case for nuclear remains robust. We think it is likely low regrets to commit to 10GW of nuclear beyond HPC (there is a recording of an excellent webinar discussion of the findings at the link).….
That case has weakened a bit in recent years, due to the remarkable success of renewables. Offshore wind will likely be the workhorse of the power system in the coming decades, and our ability to manage a 'windier' is improving all the time, although much more needed.
Read 15 tweets
27 Jun
This is a tour-de-force from @MLiebreich on the potential for improvements in energy efficiency -- so much more than lagging. Key line, for me, among many: "Digitization is an all-round energy efficiency game-changer...."
"... enabling more efficient use of built infrastructure from office desks to water pipes, highway lanes to parking spaces...."
Meanwhile, digital innovation by companies like Smartwires, Octopus, Ohme and BNEF Pioneers Enbala and Limejump enable smart management of existing electrical infrastructure."
Read 4 tweets
24 Apr
On a very warm Friday afternoon, a short thread on my experience with @tado this winter and what it might mean for the decarbonisation of the UK's homes (1/n)
For those of you who don't know, Tado is a system that allows you to control the temperature of your home room-by-room. You have to change your radiator valves, which is pretty easy, and then everything is connected to your app (see picture)
You can just turn it up or down manually (whether you are at home or not) or set a schedule. It also has a geofencing function, which means it will turn your heating on automatically when your are on your way home.
Read 23 tweets
12 Feb 19
(part 2) Last week @BristolEnergy were the first company to trial selling heat as a service in our Lab.…
Our experience in our trials is that most consumers really like this. They like the control and they quickly begin to understand how what they pay relates to what service they get, and adjust accordingly. That is a long way from the current low level of understanding of energy.
Such service offerings can also work for companies: offering a better product, building trust with your customers. Crucially, heat-as-a-service-type models could allow businesses to design and deliver better integrated low carbon heating solutions as part of a monthly package.
Read 21 tweets
12 Feb 19
How to decarbonise heating is probably the thorniest problem in UK energy policy. Here is are a couple of (too long) threads on how we @EnergySysCat approach the problem….
1. Start with the consumer, not the technology (or the top-down model)
We love a model, don’t get me wrong. Our 2050 whole-systems scenario work is quite clear; to meet existing 2050 targets, you are basically going to have to largely decarbonise domestic and non-domestic heating.…
Read 25 tweets

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