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Trust, not control: Germany, EVs and the power of consumer choice

‘How electric vehicles endanger electricity supply’ rang the alarm in a major German newspaper in 2018. The author warned that the local electricity networks would collapse if people returned from work in the evening and all charged their cars at the same time, a fear that kept many network operators up at night. The government…

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Electrification: Using more to emit less

Estimating the emissions savings associated with electrification is complex. A number of analysts have made admirable attempts to appraise emissions savings resulting from a shift to electric vehicles (EVs) from internal combustion engine vehicles or to electric heat pumps from gas condensing boilers. These studies show electrification leads to significant reductions in carbon emissions. This…

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How the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive risks destroying Europe’s forests

In meeting their 2020 renewable energy targets, EU Member States have overseen large increases in renewable power. But this has been accompanied by a less welcome development: a near doubling in the amount of energy derived from solid biomass, which is currently classified as zero carbon. The majority of this biomass comes from the EU’s…

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Building insulation: Is hydrogen our get out of jail free card?

In the board game Monopoly, an important feature is the ‘get out of jail free’ card, which allows players who end up in jail to avoid paying a fine to get out. In recent months, gas industry representatives have suggested that, when it comes to decarbonising buildings, hydrogen is their get out of jail free…

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How to get from a cottage industry to a million heat pumps a year

The UK has made incredible strides in decarbonising its power system beyond what many thought was possible. Carbon emissions were at a record low over the recent Easter weekend. While heat pumps have been seen as a strategically important sustainable heat technology for years, the rapid progress in the power sector offers an urgent opportunity…

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Pipe dream: alleviating energy poverty with hydrogen

The debate about how to reduce emissions from home heating is hotting up, but it risks being derailed by vocal proponents for the use of hydrogen in place of fossil gas. Affordable home heating with hydrogen is, quite literally, a ‘pipe dream’ [noun: a hope or plan that is impossible to achieve]. The available evidence…

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Unlocking electrification through rebalancing levies and taxes

I frequently receive requests for advice based on my personal experience as an owner of a heat pump and an electric vehicle. Often I get asked whether I now pay more for my energy than before. People are more keenly aware today of the high costs of electricity and they hesitate to switch away from…

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What has gone wrong with the Green Homes Grant?

The Green Homes Grant risks becoming the second government home energy efficiency scheme in a decade designed to fail. The last decade wasn’t a good one for energy efficiency policy in the UK. We all remember the Green Deal, the coalition government’s flagship energy efficiency policy that was supposed to support 14 million home retrofits…

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Energy efficiency: Secret ingredient that can make Turkey’s energy transition a success

At a recent pan-European energy efficiency conference in Paris, representatives of a large energy service company shared the well-kept secret of how they source energy-efficient heating technology to install in Europe: They get it from Turkey. Even though Turkey may not come to mind as a global leader in energy efficiency, energy efficiency has been…

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Efficiency First must tackle implementation issues to be effective

Efficiency First policy needs to be effectively applied across the EU in order to meet decarbonisation goals. As is the case in many countries in Europe, households in Great Britain can benefit from public subsidies if they install renewable heating systems. This is not surprising given that heating our buildings results in about 20% of…