Britain’s energy sector has called on the government to seize the opportunity to deliver a green economic recovery.
Nine of the country’s energy trade associations, representing networks, generators, retailers and the supply chain have together called for action to boost Britain’s reputation as a renewable energy superpower.
Clear, ambitious targets with a robust framework are needed, the groups said in a statement. This should include; 40GW offshore wind, 40GW of solar, 30GW of onshore wind, 2GW of floating wind, 5GW of green hydrogen electrolyser capacity, and 1GW of marine energy.
Additionally, a clear plan to restore nuclear to at least existing levels should be developed. This comes just after EDF announced the closure of Dungeness B, meaning five of the nation’s eight nuclear plants will now close by 2024.
A Heat and Buildings Strategy that can empower customers is also needed, it continued, delivering market certainty and customer choice of technologies like heat-pumps and hydrogen-ready boilers, which can be rolled out through the 2020s.
There is a particular focus on the need for more work to decarbonise the heating sector, with the Environmental Audit Committee condemning government investment in the area as being “woefully inadequate” earlier this year. The Green Homes Grant – a scheme which helped fund heat pumps amongst other technologies – was also shuttered early, in a move that was largely condemned.
Beyond these points, the group of energy associations have called for a Just Transition Strategy that would work to maximise the employment opportunities of Net Zero, through bringing together schemes like The North Sea Transition Deal.
Strategic investment ahead of need is also required in the least risk technologies and infrastructure, as well as a regulator with a clear mandate for action on climate change to support decarbonisation throughout the value chain.
Finally, the group which includes; Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology, BEAMA, Energy UK, Energy & Utilities Alliance, Nuclear Industry Association, Renewable UK, Scottish Renewables and Solar Energy UK, have called for a UK Net Zero Strategy focused on key sectors and what they can deliver throughout the 2020s.
As COP26 approaches – with the global climate change convention set to be held in Glasgow in November – there is “little question over the UK’s ambition on climate change”, said David Smith, chief executive of Energy Networks Association, but now there needs to be a focus on delivery.
“The UK’s energy industry has done the heavy lifting so far and has tangible plans to not only fully decarbonise power, but also support the decarbonisation of heat, transportation and industry – plans which we want to work with government to deliver.
“The energy networks are at the heart of unlocking this green growth, turning climate plans into climate action and helping to provide a cleaner, greener future for all.”