Breaking through the barriers - expert insights uncovering key opportunities in energy development. 

We recently collaborated on the  ‘Breaking through the barriers’ report as part of RSK’s Power On campaign, where industry experts provide their insights to uncover key opportunities in energy development. Breaking through the barriers looks at all the issue that energy developers are facing within their projects.

Working alongside EDF Renewables UK & Ireland, Scottish Renewables, Orrön Energy, Anglo Renewables Ltd, Ecowende, Vattenfall, RSK Wilding, Certus Utility Consulting Ltd (An RSK Company),Proeon Systems Ltd., WRc Group and RSK Environment.

 

Our key takeaways include:

  • The need for a compelling story, communities will be more likely to buy into the projects, making consent easier to achieve.
  • Social views have the power to drive change, as they often garner a response from policymakers.
  • When projects become realised, vocal opposition is understandably commonplace, but the key is to set this voice in context.
  • Informed consent is achievable when armed with political alignment and the right communications tactics.

 

Let’s get into the detail:

 

Creating a voice for the people

People are at the heart of the consenting process, often determining the success or failure of a project. If we develop a voice and an approach to communication that demonstrates a longer-term commitment to relationship building and community shaping, and if we pair that with an integrated delivery plan as opposed to creating one-off experiences, the path to consent can be far smoother and more rewarding.

 

Educate > build support > advocate

The journey to consent is exactly that: educating key audiences, building support from stakeholders and advocating for projects. It is important to begin educating audiences through data-tested narratives and then working this into a wider campaign that drives awareness and helps define how projects are discussed and regarded. This can help build support in the minds of the decision-makers. Advocacy is driven through leveraging support and ensuring engagement activities and opportunities are provided for stakeholders to advocate the benefits of projects.

 

The value of being data-driven

Staying up to date on the latest insights and public narrative is one thing; understanding how to become a heard voice within the narrative is another.  By using data-led communication strategies, you can gain a better understanding of behaviours and motives driving consent decisions. Data-led strategies also enable aspects of your communications that are under-performing to be established quickly, saving critical programme time and costs for your business. Factoring performance management analytics tools into your strategies is central to delivering effective communications.

 

Interested in finding out more about how to work with Copper? Get in touch today. 

You can explore the live webinars hosted by RSK Group, led by industry experts here

With nuclear energy recently classified as “environmentally sustainable” and the launch of Great British Nuclear, which could see nuclear energy account for up to 25% of our electricity by 2050, are we in the age of nuclear?

To find out, we asked the public to share their views on how they see nuclear serving the UK’s energy needs.

A General Election is on the horizon and net zero targets are quickly approaching. We’ve set out to understand the public’s thinking about the role climate change will have in voters’ minds at the ballot box and asked the question: will the next General Election by won or lost on climate change.

The Net Zero Energy Security and Growth Plan is a mandated response to last year’s High Court ruling, which deemed the 2021 Net
Zero Strategy as unlawful due to a breach of the Climate Change Act. The response includes a number of significant policy announcements
related to the power and infrastructure industries, in addition to those in the Spring Budget earlier this month.

Yesterday saw a significant reshuffle in the Government. Number 10 has stated its purpose has been to ensure the delivery of the Prime Minister’s five priorities: to halve inflation, grow the economy, reduce debt, cut waiting lists and stop the boats.

 

Chief among these departmental changes has been the creation of the new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, which will be led by former Business Secretary, Grant Shapps MP. In Shapps’ own words, his focus will be “securing our long-term energy supply, bringing down bills and thereby helping to halve inflation.”

 

Other changes include:

 

A dedicated Department for Science, Innovation and Technology will drive innovation to deliver improved public services, create new and better-paid jobs and grow the economy.

 

A combined Department for Business and Trade to support growth by backing British businesses at home and abroad, promoting investment and championing free trade.

 

A re-focused Department for Culture, Media and Sport (losing the ‘Digital’ element to its name) will recognise the importance of these industries to the economy and build on the UK’s position as a global leader in the creative arts.

This report explores the main recommendations and what they mean for the infrastructure, energy, and construction sectors. Although not all of Skidmore’s recommendations may be taken forward, the considerable evidence he has gathered along with his personal pedigree will likely elevate the proposals up the political agenda.

The aviation sector has a critical role to play in delivering decarbonisation through modernisation.

By Pearce Branigan, Senior Account Manager.

The publication of the Government’s Jet Zero strategy marked a watershed moment for the aviation industry. The document is one of the most far-reaching and significant aviation policies published to date, adding flesh to the bones of how the industry will meet net zero by 2050.

Having supported clients to be among the 1,500 that submitted responses to the Jet Zero consultation, it was heartening to see that the UK Government had taken a bold, albeit challenging, approach. The target seeks to halve the carbon emissions produced between 2019 and 2050, with domestic flights (which comprise 4 per cent of total UK aviation emissions) being given until 2040 to achieve this. This trajectory to 2050 is based on the “high ambition” scenario, setting industry targets of:

  • 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2030 – which is equivalent to the annual energy usage of five million UK homes.
  • 7 reduction year on year from 2030 to 2040, reaching 28.4 million tonnes or reduction of 7 million tonnes on 2030 limit by 2040.
  • 91 reduction year on year from 2040 to 2050, reaching 19.3 million tonnes or a 9.1 million tonnes reduction on 2040 limit by 2050.

The Government intends to implement this through an emission reduction trajectory for the industry, annually monitoring progress and undertaking bi-decadal reviews. The ambition should be welcomed, but serious consideration should be given to whether the targets themselves are achievable and what they depend on.

The five-year delivery plans will be assessed through six methods: system efficiencies; Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs); zero emission flights; markets and removals; influencing consumers; and addressing non-carbon emissions.

Winging it?

The Government has made great claim of its proactive approach. This has included investing £180 million in research and development for SAFs, committing to having five plants under construction by 2025, along with the introduction of zero carbon aircraft.

However, these actions only account for 21 per cent of the intended carbon reductions in the industry up to 2050. Fuel efficiency improvements for airport operations, including the maintenance and refueling of planes along with the ancillary tasks associated with aviation account for a further 15 per cent of the intended carbon reductions in the industry up to 2050.

 

 

The mainstay of the strategy is dependent on existing emissions caps in the form of the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and the United Nations Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme (CORSIA), which are expected to deliver over 27 per cent of carbon reductions by 2050. The ambition is that the same (or greater) numbers of flights will occur, but improvements in technology and fuel efficiency will enable the industry not only to avoid breaching the threshold for emissions, but actually lowering them.

Although the technology is there to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, by the strategy’s own admission it is ‘dependent on technological development proceeding at the same rate’ to achieve this. There is no certainty that the required technological innovation will continue at the same rate and if it doesn’t, the UK will have to rely on other areas to cover the shortfall in emission reductions.

As for the remaining 37 per cent, this will come from abatement outside the aviation industry, with no suggestion as to who, what or how this will be achieved.

Where the buck stops

The timing of Jet Zero’s publication occurs at a significant juncture in public opinion. The looming cost of living crisis, with fuel costs rising, has dampened appetite for environmentally inclined public spending and taxes. For some, the cost associated with achieving net zero is proving unappealing.

This brewing frustration has influenced a shift in the rhetoric of the governing party over the previous 10 months. The excitement following the UK’s hosting of COP26 in October 2021 towards achieving net zero remains, but there is now a growing difference of opinion about how to get there. For example, the Foreign Secretary and Prime Ministerial candidate Liz Truss’ proposal to temporarily cut green energy levies, which is at odds with the accepted dogma of 10 months ago to increase or even impose more.

With the medical requirements to travel abroad all but rescinded, the UK population has been returning to enjoy international travel. Households already feeling the pinch of the energy crisis may become less inclined to support the drive to net zero when their annual holiday plans are impacted. Low-income families who anticipate the two-week holiday abroad as a necessity for their own mental and physical wellbeing during the working year may be at the core of future net zero scepticism, when the levies which will drive forward net zero make their yearly holidays unaffordable. This raises the question: has the drive to decarbonise aviation focussed on winning over the aviation industry, while failing to bring the public along as well?

An innovation nation

With public expenditure likely to be reduced after the significant burden of managing the UK’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government must consider alternative measures to financial investment to achieve Jet Zero. Whether easing the pathway to visas for specialists working in this area of research, or by agreeing trade deals with nations who have the materials needed to build these technologies, innovation will be key to unlocking the carbon reductions needed to meet net zero in aviation and the UK by 2050.

For the people, without the people?

The Government should ensure that they engage with the public across all net zero policies, so that their input is both credibly sought and applied. The inherent risk with the Government’s current approach of engaging separate industries and not the wider public, is that implementing a policy for the benefit of the UK population, without consulting the population, may cause their concerns to go unheeded. If no action is taken to register or address any outstanding concerns, then it may prove that sections of the population become indifferent, or even opponents of the very drive towards net zero.

 

Investing in new infrastructure and lowering emissions.  

An oxymoron?  

Or the hardest jobs in net zero?  

For those delivering vital infrastructure and construction projects across the UK, the task could be considered an oxymoron.  

Manufacturing cement for wind turbines. Producing lithium for car batteries. Building production plants for hydrogen.  

Jobs that are not inherently net zero but support the transition present a unique set of challenges.  

We are missing an opportunity to build momentum towards net zero if we don’t explain the industry’s oxymorons.  

Copper has launched a major new campaign to explore these challenges and find The Hardest Jobs in Net Zero.  

Why are we doing this?   

The government’s Net Zero Strategy is filled with promises that have yet to be translated into action.  

Key questions remain – who will cover the cost, how will the skills gap be filled and how will government engage the public?  

When it comes to complex infrastructure, projects go far beyond ‘net zero or not’ and require careful explanation to gain stakeholder buy-in.  

This is the driving force behind The Hardest Jobs in Net Zero, a personal study of people at the forefront of the energy transition.  

What do we aim to achieve?  

  • Move from talk into action – showcase real world stories of the transition that drive others to shift from strategy to delivery. 
  • Improve the odds reduce the risk of projects being misunderstood and delayed.  
  • Create a platform for change – maximise the opportunity for positive political and policy decisions, as well as investment. 
  • Give net zero a reality check – highlight the critical infrastructure investment required to achieve ambitious targets. 

How can you get involved?  

From local councils to multinational corporations, we want to hear about the real-world impact people are having on the energy transition in unapparent ways.  

Share your hardest job challenge with the team: hardestjobs@copperconsultancy.com