Today legislation will be laid in Parliament committing the UK to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, following a report from the Committee on Climate Change published last month. The report calls for extensive electrification of the economy and a quadrupling of low-carbon power generation by 2050.
Chris Hewett, chief executive at the Solar Trade Association (STA), said: “Enshrining net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 into law is a vital step in tackling the climate emergency, but long-term targets are meaningless without action. In the case of solar and energy storage the government must move quickly to remove barriers that have needlessly slowed progress. In contrast to the view of the Treasury, the whole country will benefit from the energy transition if government creates a level playing field for all clean energy generation technologies to compete on. Solar and wind are now the lowest cost forms of power generation in the UK, yet there is no route to market and government is continuing to subsidise the fossil fuels it is aiming to phase out.
“A 100% renewable energy system, including powering heat and transport, is entirely possible but only with the integration of energy storage which represents a notable industrial opportunity for the UK. The sector is yet another example of the tremendous potential economic opportunities in clean energy if the government gets pathways to commercialisation and mass market deployment right.
“Solar can not only provide clean electricity, but that low cost power can also be used to produce hydrogen and green ammonia, both of which could contribute greatly to the decarbonisation of our homes, transport and shipping sectors. Solar has been key to driving innovation in battery storage and electric vehicles, and it can be scaled to power one home or an entire city. The popularity, affordability and accessibility of solar means it can play a major role now in delivering Net Zero.”
STA analysis published last month reveals the solar industry is set to deploy 4-7GW of subsidy-free solar over the next four years as things currently stand. There is significant scope to increase future deployment levels, with the STA backing a floor-price Contract for Difference mechanism as one particular way in which this could be achieved.