Urgent action is needed to jumpstart grid decarbonisation according to the Nuclear Industry Association, RenewableUK and Solar Energy UK.
Together they have called for a buildout in new wind, nuclear and solar capacity, as well as a binding target of 100% grid decarbonisation by 2035.
The grid has been dirtier in the first four months of 2021 than it was in the same period in 2020, despite the UK being under lockdown measures for a larger period of this year. Between January and March 2021, the carbon intensity of electricity was around 5% higher than the same period the previous year.
During the period, gas-fired generation was 22% higher because of higher demand. As such despite individual record breaking days – such as peak wind generation of 17.5GW set in February, which was subsequently broken in May – the grid was dirtier.
Greening the grid is essential for hitting both the 78% emissions reduction committed to by the government in April and net zero by 2050. This will be particularly important as sectors like transport and heating look to electrification as a path to decarbonisation.
As such the three industry associations have called for new renewable and nuclear goals, along with a rise in the carbon price that would be consistent to decarbonising the grid by 2035.
RenewableUK is calling for a 30GW onshore wind, 2GW floating wind, 5GW green hydrogen electrolyser capacity and 1GW marine energy deployment target by 2030.
Solar Energy UK is asking for a 40GW solar deployment target by 2030, along with reinstating funding and ending VAT for green home upgrades. Additionally, it wants reforms to business rates and annual CfD auctions until the end of the decade – solar and onshore wind are set to take part in the fourth CfD round, the first they have been eligible for since the first auction.
The Nuclear Industry Association is calling on the government to endorse a new financing model for nuclear projects this year, as well as setting out a plan to restore nuclear capacity to existing levels by the early 2030s.
“We’re urging Ministers to set out key milestones in renewable technologies which will help us to decarbonise the grid as fast as possible,” said Melanie Onn, deputy chief executive of RenewableUK.
“In the run-up to COP26, we need a detailed roadmap including specific deployment targets for onshore wind, floating wind, renewable hydrogen and marine energy to be achieved by the end of this decade”.