International Journal Of Nuclear Governance Essay

Question:

• Critically analyse the factors affecting the content of international agreements for the oil and gas industry

• Critically examine the framework of the energy policies.

• Demonstrate the key global challenges and issues facing the world oil and gas industry and the factors affecting the long term prospects.?

Answer:

Introduction:

The carbon dioxide (CO2) emission has been the major cause of the global warming and climate change over the entire world. The harmful emission can be attributed to the economic development of the country that has posed as a serious problem of environmental degradation. There is an urgent need for the nations to combat the adverse consequences of the increased CO2. To overcome the environmental problems, it is necessary to limit the concentration of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and thereby avoid the consequences of increased temperature and dramatic impacts on the economic performance, welfare, and the ecosystems. In the UK about 86% of the CO2 emission is due to the production and the use of energy. To reduce the adverse impact of the carbon emission, there is an urgent need to adopt and diffuse the use of renewable energy technologies (RET) within the country (Asif, Currie and Muneer, 2007). The incorporation of the renewable energy technologies is crucial in this context as it has the potentiality to reduce the imports of the energy into the nations. The positive side of the implementation of the RET includes the generation of the local environmental and health benefits. The adoption of the RET implies that the performance of the economy will improve as it will have positive impacts on the employment, competitiveness and sustainable development of the economy. The paper aims to analyze the trends in the UK energy policy and commence a SWOT analysis of the impact of the renewable energy technologies on the energy policy of the UK.

Energy policy of the UK:

The recent changes in the energy policy of the UK are depicted in the Energy White Paper (2007) and the Low Carbon Transition Plan (2009). These are led by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, which is headed by Amber Rudd. The main aim of the policy is to reform the electricity market, surging out smart meters and making improvements in the energy efficiency of the UK through the Green Deal. The UK is highly dependent on the fossil fuels which led to the increased carbon emission that caused the greenhouse effect, global warming, and climatic changes. There has been an excess demand for fossil fuels which has suppressed the indigenous supplies of oil and gas. The huge increase in the demand for fuels has led to the increase in the imports of fuels. This has been a substantial impact on the economic performance of the UK as the country experiencing fuel price volatility due to the world market fluctuations. The use of energy has increased the level of carbon emission in the atmosphere leading to adverse environmental impacts. Some targets had been initiated by the government of the UK to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses. In the Climate Change Bill, the UK target is to reduce the carbon emission by 80% by the year 2050. There was also an interim target of 34% by the year 2020. The UK economy has to implement intelligent and effective energy policy that will aim to make the investment in the carbon abatement technologies (UK launches Renewable Energy Strategy, 2008).

Some of the renewable energy technologies include:

Solar Energy:-

Solar collectors- This is the technology through which the solar radiation in the form of energy are gathered and used for different purposes like providing electricity problems in the buildings, communities, and for the society as a whole in a cost effective way .

Photovoltaics- Solar energy can be used in hybrid forms with the wind energy so that it has the potentiality to provide power to street lights or traffic lights and also to the solar power plants. This technology can be of high cost, but the efficiency becomes low in this case.

Geothermal energy- commercial electricity is extracted from the geothermal steam reservoirs. The water from the surface is injected, heated and used in a steam or binary power cycle and then re-used for recycling purposes. Here the risk and uncertainties are quite high.

Wind Energy-The wind energy power plants are built near or around the sources of wind. When this wind energy is extracted for renewable energy technologies. This technology would generate electricity, and one of the best practices includes the provision of street lights and electrification of schools .

Hydropower- The water resources are used to generate electricity in the small towns and villages.

Biomass- the residues and wastes discharged from the forestry and agricultural in direct combustion systems is used for the generation of electricity and heat. One technology that is used for the direct combustion of biomass fuels which is the biomass co-firing is used for the demonstration of utility power plants and commercial purposes.

SWOT analysis of renewable energy technologies:

To understand the impact of the renewable energy technologies on the energy policy direction of the UK, it is important to analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to this incorporation (Chen, Kim and Yamaguchi, 2014).

Strengths:

The incorporation of the renewable technologies would generate electricity. The EU’s Sustainable energy targets have depicted that the UK must generate around 15% of the electricity from the sources of renewable energy by the year 2020.

The aim of the UK is to encourage the average annual investment for the production of renewable energy. The incorporation of the RET has proved that the annual investment had doubled over the past few years which reached around ?8bn in 2013.

The UK is abundant in the wind, wave, and tidal resources which means that the renewable energy technologies will make complete use of the energy resources for the generation electricity and heat within the society and communities as whole .

One of the important RET is the Solar photovoltaic's (PV) which allows the generation of renewable energy that has proved to be beneficial for the UK.

The most important strengths of the renewable energy technologies are the financial and infrastructural support for the government policies and incentives like the Contract for Difference (CfD) scheme and Ofgem's Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme .

Weaknesses:

The major weakness in the implementation of the RET is due to the recession and the uncertainty in the markets. This has posed as a financial problem and investment crunch in the RET promotion in the UK.

Another weakness is somewhat associated with the financial crunch is that the high cost. The construction and development of wind farms, biomass plants, and solar farms are quite expensive. Thus, the implementation of RET is not a frequent phenomenon and requires a lot of resources and funds.

The UK government is not generous enough to financially support the RET like the onshore wind, solar, and biomass. Sometimes the government provides limited resources for the development of the RET. This is a major problem in the renewable energy sector as without suitable funds and financial resources there will be a negative impact on the investment in RET .

The government of the UK lacks consistency and long term commitment has posed a serious problem in the renewable sector. This kind of inconsistency in the plans and strategies of the government have made the renewable investors' confidence to weaken. With the lack of investing confidence, the RET is negatively affected, and the achievement of the long-term plans for the renewable energy is hindered.

The hindrance provided by the government sometimes impacts the energy companies. This is because while investing in an expensive renewable energy projects, it is their duty to check the commercial viability of the capital-intensive renewable energy sources. It is also important to analyze the return on investment that would be generated from the projects but a major aspect of the success of these projects largely depend on the regulations and the incentives that must be provided by the government. Failure to do so would imply that the RET would not be able to yield the positive impact on the UK energy policies .

One of the major issues related to the construction of the solar farms and the power plants is the protests from the local group of people. They tend to against such construction of powerful solar farms as it would damage the local landscape and the wildlife. This kind of protest in the UK is done on a large scale that can stop the implementation of the project. This would imply that the target of the UK energy policy would be compromised.

Opportunities:

UK is regarded as the windiest country in the Europe which means that the country has excellent opportunities to utilize the winds to generate energy and electricity. This wind energy is an important source of energy that implies that the RET using winds when implemented could generate sufficient electricity and thereby would be able to meet the targets of the energy policy of the UK.

The government of the UK has allocated ?300 budget for the implementation of the low-carbon technology. This proposal had been included in the CfD scheme that has the potentiality of increasing in the investment in the RET over the years. The increase in the investment would imply that the RET would be set on a large scale and that the benefits would be reflected through the achievements of the targets of the energy policy .

The opportunities are extracted from the offshore wind market that is regarded as the established in the world. The offshore wind market would generate enough electricity to meet the demands and target of the energy policy of the UK.

There are opportunities that with the development of the RET in the UK, the expertise having enhanced knowledge on the RET would be able to share their knowledge in the international markets .

The technological improvement would encourage the development and innovation of the RET in a cost effective way. The improvement and innovation in the RET would imply that 15% target of electricity generation in the UK energy policy could be achieved .

The continued economic growth in the UK would mean that the overall energy consumption would be increased. This increase would also stimulate the increase in the renewable energy consumption and stimulate the implementation of the RET .

Threats:

The major threat that the UK is facing is the drop in the attractiveness as a destination for RET investments. The reports suggested by the EY in September 2014 suggest that UK renewable energy investment has dropped to the seventh place and is recorded to be at all time low .

The UK government had cut down the subsidies for the large scale solar schemes like the Renewable Obligation (RO) Scheme in April 2015. This had dragged down the development and innovation of the RET in the UK.

Large solar farm developers are under competition for acquiring the CfD subsidies. This would imply that the government had discouraged the RET implementation.

The inconsistency in the commitment of the government implies that there is a high risk involved in the incorporation of the RET in the UK.

Another source of energy is the hydro power from the inland sources. This hydropower is adversely affected by the climatic change for the generation of renewable energy and posed a hindrance in the incorporation of the RET.

There is a high chance that the Nuclear energy would be preferred as the low carbon energy source in the UK which means that the renewable energy source has a significant threat from the nuclear energy.

Conclusion:

The paper focuses on the major issue of the introduction of the RET in the UK energy sector. The RET would positively impact the energy policy of the UK as it would enable the generation of electricity using the renewable energy source in the UK. As UK is the windiest country in the Europe, there is a high scope for the utilization of the wind energies to generate electricity. In this paper further the SWOT analysis has been done to determine the impact of the RET on the energy policy of the UK.

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