10:10 reaction to the capacity market auction

In response to this week's Capacity Market auction Cecily Spelling, campaign manager at climate charity 10:10, said -

This year’s capacity market auction has finally brought forward some investment in new UK gas power stations - and it is encouraging to see more battery and pumped hydro storage win contracts. However, in total it will see over £1bn of public money awarded to fossil fuel generators, at least £154m of which is destined for the most polluting energy sources - coal and diesel.

The capacity market should be better designed to assist the UK’s transition to low carbon electricity. Yet these new payments to fossil fuel generators stand in stark relief to government’s ban in support to our cheapest energy source, clean onshore wind. On Wednesday wind power set a new UK generation record, confirming its place once again as a mainstream energy technology.

If the Government is serious about a clean energy future it must reform the capacity market to ensure storage and flexibility are better incentivised, and end the ban on financial support for our cheapest energy source - onshore wind.

For further information: Max Wakefield, lead campaigner, max.wakefield or 0207 388 6688. 

10:10 reaction to the Autumn Statement

In response to the Autumn Statement, Max Wakefield, lead campaigner at climate change charity 10:10 said -

“Whilst we welcome the decision to retain the Carbon Price Floor, it must be coupled with a commitment to invest in clean, low cost energy sources like onshore wind. With renewable investment set to fall 96% by 2021, the Chancellor needs to right his predecessor’s wrongs and focus his new infrastructure drive on cheap, home grown renewable energy.

Our future industrial prosperity will be powered by a clean, smart energy system. We know it, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has said it and now the Treasury must get behind it. That means the government must stop blocking onshore wind and start backing the cheapest forms of new, low carbon energy.”

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Notes to editors:

10:10 brings communities together to take practical action on climate change http://1010uk.org/.

Parliament Square carpeted in pinwheels to show public support for clean energy

Parliament Square carpeted in pinwheels to show public support for clean energy

  • 1000 pinwheels were planted in Parliament Square at dawn this morning, highlighting public support for onshore wind power.

  • As scientists declare 2016 the hottest year on record, campaigners are calling for government funds to be urgently redirected away from fossil fuels and to the development of clean energy.

1000 pinwheels were planted in Parliament Square at dawn this morning to highlight public support for wind power in the run-up to next week’s Autumn Statement.

Campaigners from climate change charity 10:10 then took bouquets of pinwheels to the Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy along with a petition signed by 18,000 wind power supporters.

Before next week’s Autumn Statement, and with international climate talks currently happening in Marrakesh, the petition urges the government to ensure onshore wind power is able to compete with other forms of electricity generation, and to reevaluate subsidies for fossil fuel power stations. Campaigners point to latest World Meteorological Organisation figures showing 2016 will be the hottest year on record, and call for government funds to be urgently redirected to support the development of clean energy.

In 2015 the government announced the end of financial support mechanisms for new onshore wind power, despite it being as cheap as new gas-fired power stations to build, endangering their manifesto commitment to ensuring the lowest cost transition to a low carbon economy.

Yet since 2014 ‘Capacity Market’ auctions - designed to ensure a secure electricity supply - have handed £2.8 billion of public money to various electricity generators. £1.8bn of that went to fossil fuel power stations, with over £500m allocated to the dirtiest generators, burning coal and diesel. According to climate charity 10:10 the same level of support for onshore wind power would enable 7GW of capacity to be built - enough to meet 6% of the UK’s annual electricity demand. According to campaigners, upwards of £1 billion more will be contracted to dirty and inefficient forms of electricity generation in auctions coming up in December and January.

Since 2010 deployment of renewables in the UK has outstripped all but the most bullish expectations, resulting in a quarter of UK electricity demand being met from renewables in 2015. Further, latest government figures predict onshore wind will be cheaper than new gas power by 2020 at the latest, with significant scope for costs to fall below gas before then. By 2025, it is expected that onshore wind will be by far the cheapest new power capacity option.

Onshore wind power is also very popular in the UK. Latest government research shows public support for onshore wind at 71%. A ComRes poll conducted for climate charity 10:10 last month generated similar results, and also found two thirds of people living in rural areas (where onshore wind turbines tend to be built) say they support onshore wind farms (65%), challenging the accepted idea that it’s only city dwellers who prefer the technology. Although support for onshore wind was lower here than in urban areas (75%), it is still high, and the difference is similar to that found when split by age (77% of 18-24s support onshore wind compared to 66% of over 65s). In contrast, the government’s research shows support for fracking at only 16%.

Cecily Spelling, wind campaigner at climate change charity 10:10, said:

“Onshore wind is great. It’s cheap and can help control bills. It’s climate friendly. It’s popular. It’s a plentiful resource here in the UK. And yet current government policy is hanging it out to dry. They claim they want the cheapest decarbonisation of the UK economy, yet lock out the cheapest forms of low carbon energy - onshore wind and commercial scale solar.

It looks like we’ll be giving more than a billion pounds more public money to dirty fossil fuel power stations this winter , whilst failing to invest adequately in clean energy or support innovation in electricity storage and ‘smart grid’ technologies. It’s a dangerous use of public money and risks tying us to dirty fossil fuels for way longer than we need.”

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Hi-res photos (credit - Andrew Aitchison):  

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/42ulpi3smfx1ir3/AADWLtjLmo_maUPYRpnDmBGma?dl=0

Notes to editors:

British press out of touch with public support for wind power

British press out of touch with public support for wind power

  • Polling out today shows three-quarters of the British public (73%) say they back onshore wind farms.

  • At the same time, a new analysis of British press coverage shows comment and editorial pieces are largely negative about wind power, though more balanced when it comes to fracking.

  • Polling also shows British people grossly underestimate support for onshore wind.

Polling by ComRes released today by climate charity 10:10 shows that three-quarters of the British public back onshore wind power, at a level twice that of support for fracking wells for natural gas (73% vs 34%).

The poll also found British people underestimate support for onshore wind. Despite 73% saying they support onshore wind, only a minority (11%) think that 71% or more people in the UK support the use of this technology illustrating a clear difference between perception and reality. Similarly, 83% say they support solar farms, while only one in five (21%) think that 71% or more people in the UK support it.

Significantly, the poll also found two thirds of people living in rural areas say they support onshore wind farms (65%). Although support for onshore wind was lower here than in urban areas (75%), it is still high, and the difference is similar to one found if you split by age (77% of 18-24s support onshore wind compared to 66% of over 65s). Interestingly, 73% of both men and women support onshore wind, despite established significant gender divides when it comes to fracking and nuclear (42% of men support fracking, 27% women; 61% men support nuclear, 33% women).

In an attempt to fix the perception gap and promote the deployment of onshore wind, 10:10 are launching a pro-onshore wind campaign today, Blown Away, inviting people to show their support for the technology. A range of activities are planned for the next year, starting with a petition before the autumn statement on 23rd November calling on the government to ensure that fossil fuels are not given more financial support than onshore wind.

Also released today by 10:10, new research conducted by Sandra Bernick, Imperial College London, compared UK press coverage of onshore wind and fracking in the last 5 years. It suggests a worrying lack of balance when it comes to onshore wind.

Bernick found two and a half times as many overall negative editorial and comment pieces on onshore wind as positive ones. When examining each argument made within the articles, for every four problems raised about onshore wind, she found only one argument stressing the benefits.

In contrast, when it came to pieces about fracking, arguments tended to stress the positives - only two out of five arguments raised problems with fracking. Bernick also found individual articles on fracking tended to be more balanced in weighing risks and benefits against each other. 15% of the fracking pieces the research looked at expressed both risks and benefits, whereas only 6% of the wind pieces did.

When it came to the arguments made against onshore wind, aesthetic and cultural problems were the most frequently employed, followed by economic issues or technical problems. On the benefits side, economic arguments were most often used, followed by environment ones. Strikingly, arguments for the energy independence onshore wind might offer the UK were nowhere to be found, even though they were a concern frequently used when advocating fracking.

10:10 worries this suggests that when pro-wind advocates do make their case, they rely too heavily on expertise of environmental scientists and economics, rather than seeking to forge more personal relationships between the public and wind power. This analysis would follow decades of research into public engagement with science and technology as well more recent analysis of aspects of the Brexit debate.

Max Wakefield, lead campaigner at 10:10, said:

“The UK public love wind power and they don’t even realise. That’s why today we’re launching the Blown Away campaign - asking people who love wind power to stand up and be counted.

Back in 2014, before David Cameron put opposition to onshore wind in the Conservative manifesto, he told the House of Commons Liaison Committee that people were ‘fed up’ with wind farms. But it’s plainly not true onshore wind is unpopular with the UK public. It’s not just our poll today, again and again the data shows this. It’s time our politicians caught up.

Onshore wind is already the cheapest tool we have to achieve energy independence, keep bills under control and tackle climate change. And, unlike government pet projects like fracking, it’s really popular. It’s time for a fresh debate about onshore wind in the UK: with such high public support, it can’t just be hung out to dry”.

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Notes to editors:

  • 10:10 brings communities together to take practical action on climate change http://1010uk.org/.

  • 10:10 is funded by a combination of charitable trusts and foundations, individuals and corporate partnerships. The launch of Blown Away has received no money from the wind industry.

  • ComRes interviewed 2037 British adults online aged 18+ between 12th and 13th October 2016. Data were weighted by age, gender, region and socio-economic grade to be representative of the population as a whole. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules (www.britishpollingcouncil.org).

  • Sandra Bernick used Factiva to find articles from the British national print media for the period 01 January 2011 to 21 September 2016 on onshore wind and fracking, then ran sentiment and framing analysis.

The Pokemon Go of clean energy: solar treasure hunting app launched today.

THE POKÉMON GO OF CLEAN ENERGY: SOLAR TREASURE HUNTING APP LAUNCHED TODAY

Launched today at sunrise, a new solar prospecting app, Look Up, aims to help Brits put the fossil fuel era behind them and realise the power of sunshine.

Developed by carbon-cutting charity 10:10, the app provides some Pokémon GO style fun to the often technical and depressing topic of energy. Developed as a nation-wide solar treasure hunt, there are prizes for players who log the largest solar potential before British Summer Time ends on the 30th October.

To play Look Up, users simply spot rooftops that could host solar panels. These might be at home, on the highstreet, in an industrial park, on a cowshed, a school, or somewhere else entirely. The app takes users through a few simple steps logging the roof’s orientation and any shade around it, as well as connecting with Google Earth and the phone’s camera to add the roof to the national Look Up database.

Britain might not be known for its sunshine, but UK solar power has rapidly expanded in recent years. Figures released by the government this summer showed a doubling of solar PV panels installed since 2015. Installations in 2015 were themselves almost double that of 2014. Britain's first solar home wasn’t plugged in until 1995, but this February we reached the 1 million solar homes milestone.

Solar power is exceptionally popular in the UK. Latest polling from the Department of Energy and Climate Change shows 80% of the public support solar. In comparison, only 19% support fracking.

The solar industry in the UK has suffered from drastic government cuts in the last year and an more than half of all 35,000 UK solar jobs have been lost as a result. However, there is a lot of untapped solar capacity in the UK. 10:10 hope this app will not only help log rooftops which could host solar, but engage the public with clean energy.

Alice Bell, head of communications at 10:10, said:

“Once you start looking for possible solar sites it can get really addictive. Taking action on climate change doesn’t have to be a matter of graphs, grids, floods and dying polar bears. It can be a playful, adventurous re-imagining of how we design our futures. During the coal age, we got used to the idea of chimneys on roofs but now it’s time for something different. It’s time to stop digging for fossil fuels and Look Up to the power of wind and solar.”

Cecily Spelling, project manager for Solar Schools, said:

“British solar has grown so much in recent years, and still has so much untapped potential. It's been devastating to see the cuts shut down so much important work, but it's not the end of the story. Even if these rooftops don't get developed tomorrow, they will next year or the year after, because ultimately our shift to low carbon energy is unstoppable."

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Hi-res photos of Look Up in use are available: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/76odnfgfuuoxs7c/AACRe7WaWoaEpknqDmRWRZQ7a?dl=0

Notes to editors: