In this blog Luke Clark, Director of Strategic Communications, runs through our “Recommendations for a Green Economic Recovery” report, published today, highlighting six core recommendations to Government to ensure we move faster along our path to net zero, as the UK recovers from the impacts of Covid-19.
Whilst recovering after the pandemic and simultaneously delivering Net Zero may appear challenging, renewables, as the lowest form of new generation, present economic, consumer and environmental benefits to our country. A green recovery with renewables at its heart will accelerate decarbonisation of the economy, enhance our position as a world leader in the low carbon technologies of the future and deliver benefits to local communities across the UK.
In its recent 2020 Progress Report to Parliament, the Committee on Climate Change recommended that:
“Ministers seize the opportunity to turn the COVID-19 crisis into a defining moment in the fight against climate change.”
There is widespread consensus that MPs have an opportunity to work with us to build a greener economy than the one that preceded the COVID-19 crisis – with renewables at the forefront of this recovery.
Last autumn marked the moment new offshore wind contracts were agreed at £39.65 per MWh, which is below the wholesale market price of electricity. By making renewables the lowest cost form of new generation, we’ve demonstrated that the low carbon technologies are as interlinked with the long-term productivity of our economy and the prosperity of UK billpayers as they are with achieving our target of an economy with net zero carbon emissions.
RenewableUK has six recommendations for Government to achieve the Government’s overarching strategies of transitioning to a net zero economy, building a new place on the global stage for Britain as we leave the EU and levelling up all parts of the United Kingdom. These recommendations fall into three areas: maximising investment in renewable energy, increasing jobs and industrial benefits of renewable industry investment and bringing forward future decarbonisation.
Maximise investment in renewable energy
Recommendation 1: Lift capacity caps for next year’s Contract for Difference auction to maximise investment and job creation. The auction could secure over £20bn of new investment and support over 12,000 new jobs in the immediate construction of new wind farms.
Recommendation 2: Outline a cross-Departmental programme to address the barriers to achieving the Government’s 40GW target for offshore wind by 2030.
Recommendation 3: Establish a route to market and enabling infrastructure to unlock investment in innovative renewable technologies such as floating wind, wave and tidal stream which will support new jobs around the UK in the short term, and price-competitive electricity and exports in the long term.
Increasing jobs and industrial benefits of renewable industry investment
Recommendation 4: Adopt a new strategic approach to increasing competitiveness and investment in the UK supply chain for renewable energy, including immediate programmes to raise industry investment, enabling port infrastructure development, R&D match-funding and export facilitation.
Bringing forward future decarbonisation
Recommendation 5: Accelerate electrification, particularly domestic heating and EV uptake, alongside improving investment in grid infrastructure required to support this and policies to promote flexibility to ensure that consumers fully benefit from growing renewables.
Recommendation 6: Establish a strategy to accelerate the development of renewable hydrogen and bring forward investment and jobs in the sector, with the research and development funding, hydrogen production targets and strong demand side signals to ensure take advantage of our world-leadership in the technology.
The “Recommendations for A Green Economic Recovery” report identifies that there is an initial boost from investment in renewables of at least £20bn that can be secured in next year’s CfD auction through existing Government policies. Moreover, investment in renewable capacity will allow the UK to move faster on rolling out electric vehicles and low carbon heating solutions – two of the immediate priority areas for progress on net zero.
Ultimately, a green economic recovery would deliver a win-win for consumers and the economy, whilst playing a vital role in delivering net zero. That’s why we’re urging Ministers to look at these recommendations closely and work with us to put them into practice.