“The IMF is predicting that the UK will see the highest growth of any G7 member in 2022,” said climate minister Graham Stuart, despite the UK being plagued with the ongoing energy crisis.
Growing the UK’s capital could be crucial in scaling the energy sector whilst also transitioning to net zero emissions. This is another area in which Stuart believes the UK needs to do better referencing that the government is on hand to support this process.
“There’s no denying there are cracks in the energy system. However, we want to work together with industry to ensure the UK is a net energy exporter by 2040 – helping our European neighbours become resilient too,” he said.
Supporting the rest of Europe in transitioning towards renewable generation and energy resiliency following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has become a crucial development.
The signs can already be observed in UK’s pursuit of steadying the energy crisis abroad having exported a record-breaking 5.5TWh of power, worth around £1.5 billion, to Europe in the second quarter of 2022, Drax Electric Insights detailed in a report.
In doing so, Drax confirmed these never seen before figures made the UK a net exporter of electricity for the first time in over a decade.
The Electric Insights report, commissioned via Imperial Consultants, showed that in the three months to June 2022, 8% (5.5TWh) of the electricity generated by Britain was exported abroad – the largest amount on record.
Becoming a net exporter is a significant milestone for the UK government with the nation scheduled to achieve this by 2040. Modelling by Cornwall Insight in 2020 predicted that Great Britain could become a net exporter of power to the European continent by the 2040s.
With increased interconnection expected in the 2020s and 2030s between the island and Europe, there will be more routes for excess offshore wind power to be transported and consumed on the mainland.
“I think we can be really proud in the way in which we have led the way with decarbonisation. With our influence, we have led the world democratically to spearhead decarbonisation,” Stuart said.
Another crucial aspect of the UK’s net zero journey is ensuring a just transition. For this, it must ensure no individual, or no industrial sector, is left behind. Stuart paid homage to this and highlighted the role energy suppliers have in ensuring this is achieved.
“There has been lots of investment in the UK, not just in energy supplies but in renewable generation. We have led the way and we must ensure no part of the country will be left behind however we will see high concentration of efforts in areas that need faster decarbonisation,” Stuart said.
One of the ways in which the government plans on achieving this is via the independent review being led by Chris Skidmore MP. The net zero review aims to maximise economic growth, increase energy security and ensure affordability in the fight against climate change.
The rapid three-month review was launched last month by Business and Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg in order 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.