Renewables could displace gas power in five years

A new wide-ranging plan would enable the UK to end its dependence on gas for electricity within five years with new renewable energy.

RenewableUK’s Renewable Energy Response Plan includes plans to increasethe amount of new renewable capacity which will be secured in this year’s auction for contracts to generate clean power. This can be achieved by removing the limit imposed on the amount of onshore wind capacity which can go ahead in this auction and raising the budget available for offshore wind as more projects are now shovel-ready than when the Government set out their initial ambitions. By investing an extra £68min the budget for offshore wind, we can cut consumers’ exposure to gas by £1.5bn and unlock a further 25 per cent growth in renewable power by 2030.

Key to this would be making the planning process for renewables faster, maximising the capacity that can be secured from annual clean power auctions starting in 2023. Planning decisions for offshore wind projects should be taken within a statutory timeframe of one year, whereas it’s currently taking around three. The planning regime for onshore wind in England is in urgent need of reform as in practice it is blocking nearly all new projects from going ahead, including those with broad community support.

Other key reforms are needed so that regulation doesn’t undermine investment in renewables. The energy regulator, Ofgem, should urgently enable new grid investment to bring forward renewable projects faster and tackle the enormous disparities in the way renewable energy generators are charged for using the grid – for example, projects in Scotland pay 15 times more for this than generators in England and Wales. New rules are also needed to bring forward grid-scale batteries as fast as possible.

Innovative technology can play a part too, as the cost of green hydrogen falls rapidly. If the Government brought forward a 5GW renewable hydrogen target by 2030, this could replace 5 per cent of total UK gas demand, equivalent to £5.7bn.

    Share Story:

Recent Stories