In a bid to mitigate the rising costs of gas and fossil fuels whilst support the energy transition, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) and Climate Change Committee (CCC) has written to Liz Truss advocating for the expansion of renewables.
Writing to the new Prime Minister, who has been sceptical on solar farms during her election campaign, the NIC and CCC are calling on Truss to promote energy efficiency, low carbon heat and renewables in the face of the current cost of living crisis.
You can read the letter from Lord Deben, Chair of the Climate Change Committee and Sir John Armitt, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission in full here.
The rise in the price of wholesale gas has led to an unprecedented cost of living crisis in the UK. However, through the use of renewables, the price of energy could radically come down whilst also promoting energy security and a transition to net zero.
The organisations have outlined five primary recommendations that could be implemented into Truss’ new regime in order to spearhead the green revolution in the energy sector in addition to tackling the cost-of-living crisis.
Developing credible policies for energy efficiency in buildings is the first recommendation the NIC and CCC call on the government to implement. The two organisations state that investing in efficiency now will help provide meaningful reductions in the amount of energy wasted over the long-term whilst also decarbonise the heating sector.
NIC and CCC are also calling on the government to provide and promote a comprehensive energy advice service. This had previously been explored by Bristol Energy and Eliq with the two companies developing an AI-enabled energy monitoring app.
The app uses data from smart meters and a self-learning algorithm to deliver personalised energy advice for consumers to help reduce their carbon emissions and cut energy bills and received financial backing from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Smart Energy Savings competition.
Another recommendation is to deliver a working market-based mechanism for low-carbon heat. This is the main policy the government has put in train to deliver on its goal to grow the market for heat pumps.
This could provide a cheaper and renewable technology to develop for buildings in the UK – a key area to decarbonise.
The government should also make full use of new auctions for onshore wind and solar, states the letter. Renewables are the cheapest form of electricity generation and could provide a means to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels for energy. This promotes grid security and decentralisation of the energy network.
NIC and CCC’s final recommendation ask the government to deliver updated National Policy Statements for energy and acts quickly to resolve barriers to deployment of strategic energy infrastructure.
This is regarded as a critical first step in supporting a low-carbon low-cost energy system that is able to support the UK in both reducing living costs and enable the transition to green energy.
The NIC warned the government earlier this year that it must pick up the pace or risk failing to deliver National Infrastructure Strategy goals.
According to the NIC, while there are now clear, long-term goals in place across most infrastructure areas, there has been slow progress in others such as electric vehicle (EV) charging and heat pumps.
Previous recommendations by the NIC to the government saw significant progress with many being delivered in 2022. This included the creation of the UK Infrastructure Bank, while renewables capacity has continued to increase and the government has committed to holding annual Contracts for Difference auctions.