With just weeks to go before the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson upped the ante for the host country by announcing plans for a “decarbonised” electricity system by 2035 – 15 years ahead of Britain’s net-zero target for the whole energy sector. In a fashion familiar to Johnson-watchers, the policy emerged via newspaper headlines, was confirmed via an off-the-cuff quip from the PM himself – and then was declared highly challenging and lacking in detail by expert commentators. One thing is clear – if Britain is to have any chance of a decarbonised power system within 15 years, offshore wind will have to do a lot of the heavy lifting. The country manager of one of the biggest developers active in the North Sea, Vattenfall, told Recharge in an exclusive interview that the UK’s ambition, will be impossible without sweeping changes to speed-up the rate of build. UK grid could have 150GW offshore wind ‘backbone’ – with radical market reforms: study. That 40GW is already starting to look like small fry. Recharge reported analysis from technology group Wärtsilä Energy claiming the UK will have to bring 112GW of offshore wind online in the next 14 years alone if it is to keep on track for 2050 net zero. There was an even bigger number from the government-backed Energy Systems Catapult – 150GW. That is the top end of the offshore wind capacity ‘backbone’ the UK could support, if a radical rethink of electricity markets is put in place. Over to you, Prime Minister.
Recharge 8th Oct 2021 read more »