The UK can have low-carbon electricity, heat and transport in 2050 at the same cost as today’s high-carbon energy system. That’s according to the UK’s first National Infrastructure Assessment, published today by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC). The wide-ranging 163-page report says this shift to greener energy is a “golden opportunity” and that ministers must act now to seize it. The report sets out how the UK can move to “highly renewable, clean and low-cost energy”, while ending the use of gas for heating and shifting to 100% sales of electric vehicle (EVs) by 2030. It says a “quiet revolution” in renewable costs means government should prioritise wind and solar, echoing new scenarios from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). It also calls for investment in energy efficiency to triple and for no more than one new nuclear plant to be agreed before 2025. The commission says: “It is now possible to conceive of a low-cost electricity system that is principally powered by renewable energy sources.” It says at least 50% and up to 65% of electricity in 2030 should come from renewables. The commission says the average cost of this highly renewable system between 2030 and 2050 would be comparable to investing heavily in new nuclear. However, it recommends a focus on wind and solar, where costs are more likely to fall even faster than expected. This conclusion applies whether heat is predominantly supplied by electric heat pumps or whether it is met using low-carbon hydrogen and biomass, the report says. The higher cost of managing variable renewable output (blue chunks in the chart, below) is more than offset by lower capital costs for wind and solar, which translate into lower wholesale prices (yellow chunks).
Carbon Brief 10th July 2018 read more »
UK government advisers The National Infrastructure Commission have told ministers to back only a single new nuclear power station after Hinkley Point C in the next few years, because renewable energy sources could prove a safer investment.
Modern Power Systems 11th July 2018 read more »