A new report from the Climate Change Committee (CCC) has been released today confirming that a fully decarbonised power system by 2035, as per the Government’s target, is achievable thanks to the “pioneering efforts to develop renewables”.
The report underlines the central role a decarbonised power system would play in the UK’s transition to Net Zero emissions, providing clean energy at an affordable price and helping to produce a thriving economy not dependent on imported fossil fuels. It contains 25 recommendations to improve the prospects of achieving the 2035 target and detailed modeling on how the future power system would look, using both historical weather data and extreme scenarios, such as a prolonged period of low wind.
In addition to Government’s pledge to “supercharge clean energy”, made when unveiling the energy security strategy last year, and more recent support for renewables, the report calls for actions including:
- A comprehensive long-term strategy for the delivery of a decarbonised, resilient, power system by 2035.
- The development of a long-term cross-sectoral infrastructure strategy to adapt and build the necessary energy networks – a problem specifically highlighted at the recent Low Carbon Agriculture Show.
- The creation of a Minister-led infrastructure delivery group, advised by the new Electricity Networks Commissioner, to ensure enabling initiatives for energy infrastructure build are taken forward at pace.
- Funding mechanisms and allocation to support the development of 10GW of low-carbon hydrogen production by 2030.
- An urgent overhaul of existing planning system
- The publication of a plan for CO2 transport from dispersed sites.
Lord Deben, Chairman of the Climate Change Committee, (pictured below) said:
“For 15 years, the Climate Change Committee’s main recommendation has been to decarbonise British electricity. The offer of cheap, decarbonised electricity for every consumer and business is now within reach, thanks to pioneering efforts to develop renewables.
“Now there is more at stake. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought home the fundamental importance of energy security. A reliable energy system based mainly on UK’s plentiful renewable resources now has new significance.
“We know how to do this, but Government is asleep at the wheel. Recent commitments for new nuclear and renewables are welcome, but these alone are insufficient. A rapid overhaul of the planning system and regulations is needed. It is not clear where the responsibility lies for the design and operations of our modern energy system rests among key organisations.
“Countries around the world are now racing for this goal. The UK is further ahead than most, but we risk losing our early lead at the worst possible time.”
According to the report, emissions from electricity generation have fallen by 69% since 2010, and a fully decarbonised power system would open the door to the decarbonisation of other sectors, such as transport and heat, via the use of technologies such as electric vehicles and heat pumps. It also re-highlights renewables as not only the cheapest form of electricity generation, but also the cornerstone to a reliable and secure electricity system.
The CCC go on to warn however that while a fully decarbonised power system is in reach, it “will not happen at current rates of deployment”, with necessary changes to both infrastucture and planning regulations urgently required if the 2035 target is to be achieved.
The report is available to download in full on the CCC’s website.