UK ‘running out of time to deliver affordable low carbon energy’

Time is “running out” to make crucial planning decisions and secure investment for affordable low carbon energy. That’s according to a report commisioned by the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, […]

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By Jacqueline Echevarria

Time is “running out” to make crucial planning decisions and secure investment for affordable low carbon energy.

That’s according to a report commisioned by the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, which details the actions needed to achieve the energy “trilemma” by 2030.

It suggests ministers should drive forward new capacity in nuclear, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and offshore wind.

They should also develop policies to accelerate demand reduction in the domestic heat sector and introduce a “smarter” demand management.

The report by the Royal Academy of Engineering recommends to developing local, large-scale pilot projects to show how the future system would work.

David Clarke, Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) Chief Executive who led the group that produced the report said: “The report’s findings closely align to the ETI’s view that  the UK can implement an affordable transition to a low carbon energy system by 2050 but decisions taken in the next decade will be critical – we have 10 years to prepare for a low carbon transition.

“Beyond 2030 we must then largely decarbonise heat and transport, potentially through electrification but also using other options such as hydrogen and biofuels. We also need to adapt our transmission and distribution networks to become ‘smarter’. Failure to plan the development of the whole energy system carefully will result, at best, in huge increases in the cost of delivery or, at worst, a failure to deliver.”

A low carbon electricity supply is the most cost-effective way to meet the need for more generation in the 2020s, according to a report by UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC).