The UK has set ambitious goals to reduce its carbon emissions and improve energy independence. It aims to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and has set a target to decarbonize its electricity supplies by 2035. But, it lacks a clear strategy.
Reaching net zero emissions by 2050 requires a significant scale-up of renewable power generation, including wind and solar. The UK government has recognized the importance of these goals in the wake of record-high energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Lack of strategy risks energy security
However, a report by Britain’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has highlighted the lack of a clear strategy to achieve these goals. The government has not provided essential details on its plans in encouraging the necessary investment and infrastructure deployment over the next 12 years. Without a coherent strategy, efforts to boost energy security could be at risk.
Reforms needed for planning and infrastructure strategy
Reforms need to be made to the country’s systems for planning, consenting and connecting new projects to the power grid. It will enable developers to scale up and meet the target, according to the CCC report. The current systems are inadequate to support the required scale-up of renewable power generation.
Strategy for potential renewable energy generation
The CCC report estimates that with swift reforms, the UK could generate around 70% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2035. Nuclear and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage can make up around 20%. The remaining supply could come from low-carbon backup generation. It includes hydrogen-powered turbines. Also, some fossil fuel plants with carbon capture technology are an option. Just 2% of the supply will come from gas plants without carbon capture technology as expected. It currently accounts for around 40% of the country’s electricity supply.
Importance of considering climate resilience
The CCC also warned that the UK’s power systems have no adequate preparation for the risks. Climate change could pose serious risks to vital infrastructure. The report emphasizes that climate resilience needs to be factored into new project development. Failure to consider climate resilience could result in increased climate vulnerability or additional costs later on. Climate hazards for power systems could include increased storms or floods. This can cause damage to infrastructure or possible changes in wind speeds impacting wind power generation.
Climate change knocked on the door… and entered
The UK’s goals to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy independence are critical in the face of climate change and geopolitical risks. However, without a clear strategy to achieve these goals, efforts to boost energy security could be at risk. The CCC report highlights the need for swift reforms to the country’s systems for planning and infrastructure. It’s the only way to enable the development to scale up and meet the target. Additionally, climate resilience needs to be factored into new project development. That will ensure that vital infrastructure is not at risk from climate hazards. The UK can move towards a more sustainable and secure energy future by addressing these challenges.