Carbon emissions from UK electricity generation fell by 16% in 2020, largely as gas and coal power stations were turned off or down due to reduced demand amid Covid lockdowns.
That’s according to an independent analysis conducted by academics from Imperial College London for Drax Electric Insights, which suggests wind and solar energy generated 30% of Britain’s electricity in 2020.
That is around half the share required by 2025 for the UK to reach its climate targets according to the Climate Change Committee (CCC), according to the study.
The report shows that achieving the CCC’s targets will also require a range of other technologies, such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), hydrogen and nuclear.
Dr Iain Staffell of Imperial College London and Lead Author of the report said: “The next steps we must take towards a net zero power system will be more challenging, driving out the last sources of fossil carbon will require us to go beyond just having more wind and solar power.
“New business models, backed by policy and investment, will be needed to bring advanced but proven technologies into the mainstream.
“This means that the electricity used in homes, hospitals, offices and factories could even be carbon negative, sourced from a range of low, zero carbon and negative emissions technologies.”
Will Gardiner, Drax Group Chief Executive Officer, said: “Biomass is unique amongst renewable technologies due to its versatility, from being used in power generation to hydrogen production – and even new forms of plastics.
“Add to this its ability to deliver negative emissions with BECCS, biomass is one of our most valuable tools for reaching net zero emissions.”