For the UK to achieve its 2050 decarbonisation and net-zero goals, up to £14 billion ($19.4 billion) in additional investments is needed in renewable energy infrastructure per annum, according to a new report released by utility Good Energy and the Energy Systems Catapult.
The report, Renewable Nation: Pathways to a Zero Carbon Britain, states that by increasing investments in renewables, the UK can achieve net-zero by 2050 using homegrown renewable energy. Up to 98% of the UK’s electricity can be generated using renewable energy by 2050 with 100GW of solar energy and 70GW of wind power contributing to approximately 84% of the country’s total electricity by 2030, the study has found. In addition, the study has found that the UK is able to achieve net-zero without relying on nuclear energy. New nuclear and fossil fuel generation are not needed to enable net zero.
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Other key study findings include:
- The UK’s net costs for decarbonisation ranges between £14 – £49 billion a year and is fully manageable when compared to the annual costs of building and maintaining the road network (£11 billion).
- The UK needs to tap opportunities within renewable energy sectors including tidal, wave and geothermal to provide up to 34GW of energy by 2050 using government funds.
- The UK needs to expand its adoption of prosumers to meet growing energy demand which is anticipated to double by mid-century. Approximately 50% of all UK households should have rooftop solar, over 80% of heating must be electrified and 90% of transport will need to be electric. All these developments need to be backed by government schemes, according to the study.
- The government and energy stakeholders need to establish a net-zero watchdog that will be responsible for protecting consumers, drive the UK towards a decarbonised energy system, and tackle ‘greenwashing’ across all sectors.
- The government should accelerate the deployment of already known and existing technologies such as wind, solar and hydro, increase roll-out of heat pumps, develop a stable carbon price and invest up to 1.5% of the country’s GDP in net-zero enabling programmes. The government and energy stakeholders have urged to focus more on green hydrogen at the expense of fossil-fuelled blue hydrogen to decarbonise the energy sector.
Juliet Davenport OBE, founder of Good Energy, said: “This report is an inspiring vision of a zero carbon Britain which is greener, fairer and eminently achievable. It demands meaningful, urgent action to turn that vision into a reality. That action must come from all sections of society, enabling the greater deployment of renewables, storage and flexibility. The creation of a new net zero watchdog is crucial to protect consumers and ensure we are on track.
“The UK has one of the toughest and boldest climate targets in the world. We must all play our part if we want to see the benefits of this shift to a truly sustainable society”.
Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, chief executive of the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology,adds: “It is clear that tackling climate change and striving towards net-zero goes hand in hand with the UK’s economic prosperity. New jobs and investment will be created, the cost of living for families will be reduced and the Treasury will benefit from growth and greater tax revenues. That is in addition to the significant health and environmental benefits on offer, from both a social and economic perspective.”