CCC report calls for swifter action on decarbonisation

The latest report by the Climate Change Committee has made 25 recommendations to government to hit its target for decarbonised power by 2035.

The report, which includes fresh insights into how the system could work, includes modelling to illustrate the requirements – as well as using historical weather data to highlight extreme scenarios, such as a prolonged period of low wind.

Recommendations from the Committee include new low-carbon back-up generation with hydrogen power stations; the continued use of fossil gas where made low-carbon; shifting consumer demand to smooth peaks – such as controlled EV charging and heat pumps; and new storage solutions beyond the use of batteries, including green hydrogen.

Lord Deben, Chairman of the Climate Change Committee, 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.”

Baroness Brown, Chair of the Adaptation Committee, said: “The climate risks to the electricity system are currently underplayed. Climate-related impacts will multiply as the UK relies increasingly on electricity for heat and transport needs. The CCC’s analysis shows that a well-designed decarbonised power system, with a higher degree of weather-dependent generation, can be reliable and resilient. This is not an issue for the future, we need to build in that resilience now, as we scale the electricity system to meet our Net Zero targets.”

ENA response

The report supports the view of the ENA that “bolder action” is needed to reach the 2035 target.

The energy industry body is renewing its calls for Ofgem to be given a net zero mandate to help ensure that the gas and electricity investment decisions they make are aligned with the 2035 target. 

Lawrence Slade, Chief Executive of ENA, said:  “If we are to hit the government’s decarbonisation targets, secure energy investment in an increasingly competitive global market and protect long term energy security for customers then the government needs to be acting faster now. 

“The CCC’s report makes clear that the solution to this challenge must involve both gas and electricity, yet policy progress is lacking. While we welcome the CCC’s assessment of the importance of hydrogen transport and storage infrastructure in delivering decarbonisation, we need to see rapid progress across both renewables and hydrogen deployment to make the 2035 target achievable.

“The networks are ready to invest, innovate and deliver but a lack of political action risks holding decarbonisation back.”

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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