Countdown to COP

Our new campaign plots the course to the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow this November and looks at the key topics for utilities.

Editor's picks

Our new campaign – to run over the next nine months – will seek to present a pan-utilities road map to net zero. We will explore the sector’s achievements to date and ask what needs to be done to unleash its full potential to drive forward the decarbonisation agenda. James Wallin sets out what the series will cover and how Utility Week members can get involved.
News
The debate over the imbalance of policy costs and taxation between electricity and gas bills is ramping up as the Treasury investigates how net zero should be paid for. As part of our Countdown to COP campaign, David Blackman looks at the arguments for change alongside concerns that targeting gas bills would hit the fuel poor hardest.
Analysis
The principle of no customer being left behind in the shift to a smarter, more flexible energy system is hard to argue with. However, some experts believe that in the short-term a just transition is just impossible. As part of our Countdown to COP campaign, James Wallin examines different pathways to fairness – from ensuring the most vulnerable benefit first to the introduction of non-participant tariffs.
Analysis

Latest in Countdown to COP

It may be “unwise” to rely on consumers buying electric vehicles (EVs) to decarbonise transport, the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has warned. The committee has also called on the government to front-load public investment in green measures that will help to counter rising unemployment.
News
The director of the Electricity System Operator talks to Utility Week as part of our Countdown to COP campaign. He stresses that the energy system alone cannot deliver decarbonisation and that the industry must bring consumers along. He also talks about the "clear, urgent, no regrets actions" that can remove barriers to deploying decarbonised heat solutions at scale.
Interviews
It is crucial that the water sector is not excluded from decarbonisation incentives so it can play a full role in the path to 2050, says Dr Keith Colquhoun, Climate Change & ESG Manager at Thames Water. As part of our Countdown to COP coverage, he also discusses the water sector’s ambitious target to reduce operational emissions to net zero by 2030.
Interviews
Is it practical to protect every consumer in the energy transition? Should more policy costs be loaded onto gas bills? These, and other questions around a just transition, will be discussed by our expert panel, featuring senior figures from Bulb, UKPN and the former director of clean growth at BEIS. Register to watch for free.
Webinars
Former energy and climate change secretary Amber Rudd has said her former role should be brought to the forefront of the Cabinet to ensure net zero is delivered effectively. Rudd also reflected on the impact of the UK hosting COP26, although stressed that it was likely to be “a reduced conference”.
News
As part of our Countdown to COP campaign, Utility Week speaks to Suleman Alli, director of strategy & customer service at UK Power Networks. He discusses the need to present decarbonisation as an economic opportunity rather than a cost burden, why the sector should be promoting “open energy” and three principles to boost consumer participation in the net-zero agenda.
Interviews
The EA and Defra have launched a fund to attract green finance by kickstarting schemes that improve the natural environment and have the potential to attract private sector investment.
News
Key to the UK's success in reaching its decarbonisation targets will be fostering innovation, developing the skills needed to deliver on these ambitions, and collaboration across the energy sector, writes Emma Ford, head of gas construction at National Grid.
Opinion
The co-founder and chief executive of energy retailer Bulb talks about the need for utilities to show the kind of co-operation seen in other industries in order to accelerate progress on decarbonisation. As part of our Countdown to COP campaign, he also addresses the challenge of ensuring a just transition.
Interviews
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