It could be cheaper for the UK to build new wind and solar farms in the 2020s than to keep running some existing gas plants, according to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). This surprising insight comes in new scenarios for the UK power sector up to 2030, published last week in the committee’s annual report to parliament. They show how the sector can help meet the UK’s carbon targets, by cutting CO2 output to no more than 100g per kilowatt hour (100gCO2/kWh). The new scenarios include much more wind and solar than before, but less nuclear and carbon capture and storage (CCS). This reflects much faster than expected falls in the cost of renewables since the previous scenarios were published in 2015, as well as slow progress on new nuclear and delays for CCS. Meanwhile, the government’s current plans towards the 100gCO2/kWh goal are “not…credible”, the CCC says, with greater ambition needed. This goal is “likely to be no more expensive than alternative pathways…such as increased gas generation paying a market carbon price or importing electricity from abroad”, the CCC adds, as renewables are available on a subsidy-free basis.
Carbon Brief 6th July 2018 read more »