RenewableUK Manifesto urges politicians to ramp up action to reach net zero target
13 November 2019
Posted by: Rob Norris
RenewableUK has published its Manifesto for the general election, calling on politicians from all parties to maximise the generation of low-cost power from renewables and promote growth across the economy by ensuring the sector expands rapidly in the 2020s and beyond.
The new document, The Tipping Point: Clean Power at Net Zero Scale, calls for a clear strategy to ensure that the UK reaches its legally-binding net zero emissions target quickly and cheaply so that consumers and businesses reap the economic benefits. RenewableUK sets out its vision of rapid decarbonisation in the next decade, driven by increased ambition for large-scale wind and innovative renewable technologies, as well as a new regulatory approach aligned to net zero.
To achieve this, RenewableUK is calling on parties to support an increased ambition for the expansion of offshore wind. The current Offshore Wind Sector Deal sets the goal of at least one-third of the UK’s power being generated from offshore wind by 2030 with 30 gigawatts (GW) installed. The latest auction for new clean power Contracts for Difference (CfDs) in September showed that the cost of offshore wind has fallen by two-thirds since 2015, and the contracts secured new capacity at below the current market rate for 15 years.
To meet the increased ambition for 2030 and beyond, the manifesto calls for CfD auctions to continue on a regular basis. RenewableUK asks the next Government to review the frequency and structure of the auctions to maximise deployment, as well as encouraging investment in the UK supply chain. Ministers are also asked to co-ordinate better across Departments to address issues such as aviation radar constraints and improved resourcing for the planning bodies.
RenewableUK urges the next Government to set out a new strategy backing onshore wind, the UK’s biggest single renewable power technology. The manifesto includes calls for onshore wind to have access to CfD auctions for clean power and an update to the planning system to allow older turbines to be replaced by more modern versions. Industry estimates that growing the UK’s onshore wind capacity from 13.5GW today to 35GW in 2035, as recommended by the Committee on Climate Change, would save the average household £50 a year and support 31,000 jobs.
The manifesto also calls on the next Government to support innovative renewables in which the UK is a world leader, like floating offshore wind and marine energy. The trade body highlights the fact that floating wind, which enables the industry to build offshore wind projects in deeper waters further out to sea, will be needed to fully harness the UK’s offshore wind potential. It offers a unique opportunity for the energy transition of workers and companies from carbon-intensive industries into renewables. By 2050, floating wind can support up to 17,000 UK jobs, and deliver up to £33.6bn of economic activity (GVA).
The UK is a world leader in tidal stream and wave power, but needs clear policies from Government to support their full commercialisation. The manifesto calls for a support within the CfD mechanism for innovative technologies, as well as encouraging Innovative Power Purchase Agreements with private companies to support new renewables.
The manifesto calls for an overhaul of Ofgem’s remit, as it currently doesn’t factor in our binding net zero target. This means that Ofgem cannot currently encourage investment in a fully flexible, smart, clean energy system for the future. Ofgem’s Targeted Charging Review, for example, will reduce investment in renewables. Changing Ofgem’s remit would allow new investment in the infrastructure needed for net zero and grid charges could be structured in a way which promotes decarbonisation.
RenewableUK’s Director of Strategic Communications Luke Clark said: “Building an energy system led by renewables is the only way to achieve net zero emissions quickly and cheaply, and it will create massive economic opportunities for all parts of the UK. This includes coastal communities where new offshore wind and marine energy businesses are clustering together, creating new centres of excellence in the heartlands of old industry.
“But the level of ambition has to be higher to meet voters’ expectations of rapid action against climate change. The next Government has to put in place clear plans to put us on track to meet our climate targets. You can’t be credible on net zero if you’re not serious about onshore wind – we need to use every technology at our disposal to deliver the energy transition that voters are demanding”.
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2. RenewableUK’s Manifesto is available here.
RenewableUK’s members are building our future energy system, powered by clean electricity. We bring them together to deliver that future faster; a future which is better for industry, billpayers, and the environment. We support over 400 member companies to ensure increasing amounts of renewable electricity are deployed across the UK and to access export markets all over the world. Our members are business leaders, technology innovators, and expert thinkers from right across industry.