Month: October 2019

First for Renewables Overshadowed by Net-zero Progress

First for Renewables Overshadowed by Net-zero Progress

The UK’s combined renewables generation from solar, wind, hydro and biomass generated more electricity than fossil fuel power stations for the first time ever during the 3rd quarter of this year.

This was the first time since electricity generation started in 1882 that renewables out generated fossil fuels and is another milestone on the way to decarbonising the system.  Earlier this year we had the longest coal-free period of 10 days with out having to rely on coal power stations.

Over the last ten years there has been a monumental sea change in how the UK has generated its electricity. In 2010, 288TWh was generated by fossil fuels with renewables generation on 26TWh, roughly a tenth.  last year in 2018 generation from fossil fuels was 149.4TWh with renewables on 110TWh, a five times increase from 2010 and 42% of the overall generation for the year.

Although these figures are promising, the latest annual progress report from the Committee on Climate Change released in July shows other sectors have not made as large strides, with the UK off track from legally binding carbon budgets.

Chris Stark CEO for the CCC said “We are not on track…having a net-zero target will not magically fix this problem. The government must show it is serious about its legal obligations…[its] credibility really is at stake here…There is a window over the next 12-18 months to do something about this. If we don’t see that, I fear the government will be embarrassed at COP26.

My biggest disappointment of the past year is that enthusiasm to do something on climate change has only manifested in a new target…Policy just hasn’t kept pace with new desire for climate action…My hope is that that catches up…and the coming year becomes a place where we talk optimistically about the opportunities from climate policy.”

The CCC uses 24 on the ground indicators ranging from electrical vehicle registrations, lofts insulated to hectares of trees planted. Only seven of the 24 are currently on track.

For example, energy efficiency improvements are happening 5 times slower than would be required to hit the target and transport indictors where breached for new car and van CO2 emotions, electrical vehicles and biofuel uptake.

If we are to meet the Government’s newly set target for net-zero by 2050, the CCC report says the UK will have to cut its emissions 50% faster over the next three decades.

In response to this, the Government have announced this week a new climate action roadmap that will be unveiled next year. They have said this will accelerate the climate action plan for decarbonising the transport sector.

Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, said: “We want to work with industry and communities around the country to develop this plan – to make our towns and cities better places to live, help to create new jobs, improve air quality and our health, and take urgent action on climate change.”

This plan is also to include the removal of ‘red-tape’ for large-scale energy storage projects (50MW+) reducing costs for developers.

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