IEMA and the University of Leeds is launching a new webinar series looking at the challenges and opportunities associated with developing circular renewables. This follows the Institute’s call for the UK to develop a circular renewables strategy. In this short blog, IEMA’s Adam Batchelor and Chloë Fiddy, look at the pressing need to embed circular thinking into the renewables sector and what the new webinar series will cover.

The British Energy Security Strategy 2022 sets out an ambition for installed capacity of 50GW of offshore wind by 2030 and up to 70GW of solar power by 2035. To set this in context, this requires an increase in capacity of around 10 times for offshore wind and around 14 times for solar. This will not be the end of the challenge - capacity will need to continue increasing at a similar pace beyond 2035 if the UK is to meet its net zero emissions target.

This infrastructure will be critical to the UK economy; modelling by the Climate Change Committee (CCC) suggests that demand for electricity in the UK will double by 2050 as energy sources used by homes and transport are electrified. The CCC calculates that the share of electricity provided by renewables will have to go from the current level of 25%, up to 80%.

The volume of renewable energy technologies needed to meet the government targets, from wind turbines and solar panels to electric vehicles and battery storage, will require a wide range of minerals and metals from supply chains worldwide.

The International Energy Association (IEA) estimates that by 2040, total worldwide mineral demand will increase by two to four times the current levels, outstripping the rate at which new primary and secondary sources are currently being developed.

Zero Waste Scotland recently mapped the material demand in Scotland’s energy infrastructure. It found that more than 85% of this demand will be the concrete and steel required to meet Scotland’s net zero ambitions by 2045.

It is clear from evidence and research that the pressure on resources needed for renewable energy technology and infrastructure is set to grow exponentially for the UK. Most of the increase in infrastructure has been planned with a linear model of ‘take, make, waste’ in mind, however, it is essential that the vast volumes of minerals and materials used in components are not turned into waste at the end of their first lifespans.

The UK must integrate circular models into all aspects of our renewable energy infrastructure. This will support net zero ambitions, reduce the demand from geo-politically volatile supply chains, keep valuable materials in use for longer and help reduce the environmental impacts of extracting raw materials.

IEMA is partnering with the University of Leeds to host an engagement programme to explore the emerging subject of circular renewables and help raise the profile and importance of embedding circularity into our renewable energy infrastructure.

You will be able to hear from balanced panels with academic, business, policy, and civic representation. Six bi-monthly sessions have been planned in 2023-2024 for the following dates:

  • WATCH NOW: Introducing circular renewables (Speakers confirmed: Dr Anne Velenturf, Senior Research Fellow in Circular Economy at the School of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds / Kenny Taylor, Partner - Energy Infrastructure at Zero Waste Scotland / Trevor Hutchings, Partner, Sustainability at BIP Group and Chair at the Green Purposes Company.)
  • WATCH NOW: Supply chains Speakers confirmed: Chair - Izzi Monk, Policy Adviser for critical minerals and the circular economy at the Royal Society of Chemistry / Janez Potočnik, Co-Chair of UN Environment International Resource Panel and Partner of Systemiq / Heather Plumpton, Senior policy analyst for circular economy and resources at Green Alliance / Kathrin Kramer, Graduate Research Assistant and PhD Student in on circular economy supply chain development for the wind industry at the Institute for Production Technology and Systems, Leuphana University of Lüneburg
  • WATCH NOW: Recycling vs. Durability Speakers confirmed: Lorna Bennet – Project Engineer, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (Chair) / Deborah Andrews, Professor of Design for Sustainability and Circularity, London South Bank University / Matt Burnell, Managing Director, ReSolar Ltd. / Nicola Young, Standards Development Manager of the battery, wind energy and PV solar, BSI

The knowledge and insights exchanged throughout the series will be an aid for policymakers and business in developing a long-term strategy for circular renewables development and deployment in the UK.


Adam Batchelor - Policy and Engagement Lead

Adam is the Policy and Engagement lead for Circular Economy and Environmental Management at IEMA. Adam has 15 years of experience in the environment field, from local government waste and recycling, auditing contracts and implementing improvements into local services; to working for the Greater London Authority/Mayor of London for the last eight years. Adam has been responsible for co-developing and delivering the Mayor of London’s Environment Strategy (Waste and Circular Economy) and has led many circular programmes from plastic reduction in the capital to food waste reduction for small business. Adam joined IEMA in December 2021 and is responsible for leading the circular economy network and environmental management group.

Chloë Fiddy - Policy and Engagement Lead

Chloë is the Policy and Engagement lead for Climate Change and Energy at IEMA. She has previously worked in local government in climate change and development planning policy. With a remit to advise on the organisational and regional net zero transition, she had a strong focus on active travel, air quality and retrofit projects, and provided advice on renewable energy development. Chloë also has over a decade of experience in the manufacturing sector, championing and implementing sustainable production methods. She is a trustee on the board of Uttlesford Citizens Advice, overseeing local input into national research projects and is responsible for information assurance. In her spare time, she enjoys live music and cooking for family and friends.


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