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How a global solar alliance can help developing countries

Xavier M LLemaire7 December 2015

Throughout COP21 our staff and students will be blogging on climate change and sustainability.

This blog was previously published as an article for The Conversation on December 4th 2015 

The International Solar Alliance announced by India at the Paris climate conference invites together 120 countries to support the expansion of solar technologies in the developing world.

The cost of solar cells has decreased spectacularly over the past four decades, and the trend seems likely to continue. Solar energy has moved from a niche market for providing power in remote places (at the very beginning in 1958 to space satellites) to a mainstream technology which feeds into the national grid.

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Most developing countries benefit from high solar radiation. Souce: SolarGIS (c) 2015 GeoModel Solar

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Ratcheting up the ambition level: Implementing deep decarbonisation pathways

StevePye4 December 2015

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There is a sense that COP21 provides for greater optimism than previous climate change conferences. And for good reason. Emission reduction pledges have been made by most, and the largest emitters are for the first time meaningfully engaged. Providing an important backdrop to this are the positive signs of an energy systems transition underway, as renewables investment continues to grow as technology costs fall, and the rate of fossil fuel use growth slows. (more…)

Building from the bottom-up: domestic action to drive global deep decarbonisation

StevePye6 July 2015

DDPP coverIf we are to deliver a decarbonised global energy system to ensure we sufficiently reduce the risk of dangerous climate change, it is strong action by countries that will be needed. While obvious, much of the analyses that emerges and is reported by the IPCC provides global solutions which are not necessarily grounded in the realities of specific country contexts. The question is what are the necessary actions that are needed to be undertaken by countries? (more…)

The Queen’s Speech: what is next for onshore wind farm subsidies?

Andrew ZPSmith8 June 2015

Wind TurbinesFollowing on from a manifesto commitment to “halt the spread of onshore wind farms”, the incoming Conservative Government has proposed in the Queen’s Speech that new subsidies would not be available to future onshore windfarms. This despite overwhelming public support for onshore wind: the DECC attitude-tracking survey of April 2015 found that just 12% of the public opposed the use of onshore wind, while 64% supported it. (more…)

Fact checking Elon Musk’s Blue Square: How much solar to power the US?

Andrew ZPSmith21 May 2015

How much power do solar photovoltaic systems produce per unit of land area? And does it matter: is it a constraint in the real world?

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At Elon Musk’s glitzy launch of the Tesla PowerWall and PowerPack batteries, the Tesla CEO showed a map of the US, with a small square in the North-West corner of Texas marked in blue, and said that solar panels over that surface area would be enough to enable US electricity to go carbon-free.

Here’s a quick fact-check on that claim. (more…)

The value and importance of POE and BPE – a case study

SofiePelsmakers23 April 2015

POE/BPE

Carrie Behar presenting the POE/BPE results

For Green Sky Thinking 2015, ECD architects presented the initial findings of a detailed Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) and Building Performance Evaluation (BPE) of their own offices. The POE was led by Carrie Behar, a doctoral researcher at the Bartlett, UCL Energy Institute, where she also runs the POE module for MSc students. (more…)

Financing Home Energy Efficiency: Lessons from the Green Deal and Needs for the Future

Lucas DVan Laack14 April 2015

Thermal Image of the HouseOn the 24th of March 2015, Mark Bayley, the Chief Executive and Petter Allison, the Commercial Director of the Green Deal Finance Company came to visit the UCL Energy Institute to present their inside knowledge on the start-up phase and the current development of the Green Deal. (more…)

UCL Energy Institute participates in Mexico’s President round table on the opportunities of building a sustainable energy economy in the UK and Mexico

BaltazarSolano Rodriguez13 April 2015

UCL Energy Institute participates in Mexico’s President round table on the opportunities of building a sustainable energy economy in the UK and Mexico

James Smith, Chairman of the Carbon Trust and ex-Chair of Shell UK moderated the discussion and summarised the outcome to the President of Mexico and UK government representatives.

 

Recently I took part in a high level round table on the opportunities of building a sustainable energy economy in the UK and in Mexico. The event was held on the occasion of the State Visit of the President of Mexico to the United Kingdom. This was a select roundtable discussion building on a dialogue initiated in Campeche, Mexico during HRH The Prince of Wales’s visit in November 2014. The roundtable was held in conjunction with the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; its aim was to debate areas of future co-operation through knowledge and technology transfer that will help each nation successfully meet their mutually ambitious carbon reduction targets, whilst addressing the challenges posed by the transition to a low carbon energy system.

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More than a third of people would let their energy supplier turn off their heating

MichaelFell23 March 2015

nest A sinister engineer in orange overalls and dark glasses looms from behind your fridge, hands raised, as if to strike… This is the scenario painted in the Daily Mail in a 2013 article on ‘direct load control’, or the possibility that third parties (‘outside forces’) such as energy suppliers could turn appliances in people’s home off and on to help keep the UK’s electricity system in balance.

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