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Select Committee report outlines solutions for meeting the UK’s emissions targets

22 August 2019

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has published a report setting out the steps that must be taken in order for the UK to meet its emissions targets by 2050.

Select Committee report outlines solutions for meeting the UK’s emissions targets
Image credit: Diana Parkhouse/Unsplash

Using the recently agreed net-zero emissions target for 2050 as its basis, the report covers a range of areas including the decarbonisation of the transport sector and power generation.

The timely rollout of rapid charging points across the strategic road network and ‘smart’ chargepoints at domestic premises are considered key to realising the long-term potential of electric vehicles.

On power generation, the committee is clear that the government must ensure that there is strong policy going forward for new onshore wind and large-scale solar, while it also calls for new programmes to be introduced to increase the viability of community ownership of low-carbon projects.

Stabilising the supply of nuclear power generation is highlighted as a priority to ensure that the UK has the right energy mix to meet demand now and in the future.

The increasing need for energy storage

The report also examines the growing role for energy storage and is clear that support for demonstration projects, wider trials and reaching a legal definition for the technology in order to provide regulatory clarity are each important steps in helping it to achieve commercialisation.

The true prize for demonstrating that energy storage could work at scale is the transformative impact that it would have on the renewable power sector. At present, the effectiveness of renewable power technologies is constrained by the intermittency of the elements on which they draw; wind and solar power are only viable when the wind is blowing, and the sun is shining.

Energy storage provides the possibility of mitigating this by storing power and releasing it onto the grid when there's a need to do so. ICE has and continues to advocate for the government to provide the market with the right incentives - be that through maximising contracts for difference or via other mechanisms - to develop energy storage.

A combination of policy initiatives, across all parts of the economy, will be required in order for the UK to meet its net-zero emissions target by 2050. Those aimed at unlocking energy storage should certainly be a priority for development.

Funding and financing future infrastructure

ICE’s State of the Nation 2018: Infrastructure Investment outlines a range of solutions for funding and financing the UK’s future infrastructure networks.

Read the full report

  • Ben Goodwin, lead policy manager at ICE