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

What role should nuclear power play in meeting the 2050 net zero target? As part of our Countdown to COP series, Tom Greatrex of the Nuclear Industry Association discusses the lessons from countries that have failed to replace lost nuclear capacity and issues a plea for the UK not to follow the same path.
Opinion
The debate over decarbonisation of heat is marked by polarised views from the passionate advocates of electrification and green gas - each with a statistic at the ready to prove their case. As part of Utility Week’s Countdown to COP series, David Blackman unpicks the arguments and examines the key question for policymakers - what role hydrogen will have in warming the homes of the future?
Analysis
Making the switch to low-carbon heating attractive and accessible to consumers will be a crucial part of achieving net zero. As part of our Countdown to COP series, Utility Week speaks to Eon boss Michael Lewis, who explains that a combination of the right financial incentives and consumer education will be key to the transition.
News

Featured

Flexible Connections were once seen as a key enabler for the cost effective and timely addition of renewable generation to the grid. However, the product has not adapted to address concerns around market access, liabilities and long-term optionality. Smarter Grid Solutions co-founder Alan Gooding looks at what went wrong, and suggests some solutions.
Opinion

Latest in Countdown to COP

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
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
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