Former Energy Minister Chris Skidmore has launched a net zero review aiming to maximise economic growth, increase energy security and ensure affordability in the fight against climate change.
The rapid three-month review has been launched by the Business and Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg to review the government’s approach in delivering its net zero by 2050 target.
The independent review will highlight areas to improve and could optimise the UK’s approach to reaching net zero and lowering carbon emissions. It will also ensure a just transition is achieved in all corners of the UK, making sure no one is left behind or excluded.
“I’m kicking off a three-month review today to find the best ways of making this happen – speaking to as many people in as many sectors and regions as possible, to ensure the review generates fresh policy ideas that can ensure we deliver a ‘big bang’ moment for net zero,” Skidmore said.
Skidmore will examine what the most pro-business, pro-growth and economically efficient path to reaching net zero is, how to maximise the economic opportunities that the target presents as well as increase innovation, investment, exports and jobs and what the economic costs and benefits are associated with new and emerging policies and technologies.
This will consider a range of evidence, consultations with consumers, investors, industrial leaders and experts in fields such as energy, land use and transportation.
By the end of 2022, Skidmore will return with a set of recommendations that can help support the UK in its goal of maximising the benefits of the energy transition and journey towards net zero emissions.
“The UK continues to lead the world on tackling climate change, having been the first G7 country to commit in law to net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050,” said Skidmore.
“This review seeks to ‘double down’ on how we can ensure that our energy transition happens at the same time as maximising the economic opportunity for businesses and households across the country, providing huge opportunities for innovation, investment, exports and jobs. I want to ensure that net zero isn’t just viewed as the right thing to do for our environment – but becomes an essential driver of economic growth.”
One crucial aspect of the net zero journey is currently at risk. Without reform of the market, the UK will miss its 2035 electricity decarbonisation target, according to a new report from centre-right think tank Onward.
According to the think tank, there are five key questions the review needs to answer, including how the UK’s electricity system be operated affordably and securely with lots of renewables, how markets can fairly reflect the costs and benefits of different generators and customers, and how the link between gas prices and electricity bills can be broken.
These could well be addressed in the upcoming review.
The renewables sector received a boost last week with Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng having unveiled the UK Government’s prospective Growth plan aiming to reduce the cost of energy bills, at an expected cost of £31 billion over its first six months.
One of the primary inclusions, which has seen a positive response from the energy industry, is the return of support incentives for the development of onshore wind – one of the cleanest and cheapest methods of generating green energy.
This could grant a much-needed boost to the UK decarbonisation and net zero targets.