Dave Elliott: Renewable energy has developed rapidly in the UK. It now supplies over third of grid electricity, and there have been a range of proposals for expansion as part of the zero carbon energy transition. For example, trade lobby group Renewable UK (RUK) has produced Powering the Future, outlining its vision of the energy transition. It predicts that wind capacity could surge six-fold to more than 120 GW by 2050. With the right policies, it says that UK offshore wind could reach 40 GW by 2030, which would cover one-third of UK’s electricity demand, rising to 90GW by 2050. RUK notes that, since 2010, the UK has attracted 48% of the roughly £80bn invested in offshore wind in Europe, and with the US and China as yet not very active in this area, the UK was the largest offshore wind market in the world. Continued expansion looked likely: the 40 GW by 2030 goal would require a further £54bn of investment. In addition to the parallel expansion of on-shore wind, RUK says that solar, marine energy, and energy storage technologies are also set to grow exponentially in the years to come. And overall, it sees renewables providing 76% of the UK’s power needs by 2050, aided by green hydrogen use and flexible grid system development. Greenpeace UK has outlined a post-C19 Green Recovery plan which includes a clean power section that has much in common with RUK’s vision, although it is more politically focused. In addition to wanting to go beyond the Conservative Party manifesto pledge of 40 GW of total offshore wind generation by 2030, Greenpeace call for a government commitment to targets of at least 40GW of solar and 30 GW of onshore wind by 2030. So it’s somewhat more radical than the Renewable UK’s scenario. Whereas, in that, renewables generation increases to 76% of the UK power mix by 2050, with gas and nuclear making up the rest, Greenpeace want to have renewables supplying 80% of power by 2030 and also some heat, and to avoid new nuclear. By 2050, in line with earlier Greenpeace scenarios, renewables would then expand up to nearly100% in a zero carbon post-2050 future.
Renew Extra 18th July 2020 read more »