Two-thirds of UK electricity should come from renewables by 2030, says NIC

Sharp falls in the cost of renewable generation mean that the UK should aim for renewables to meet two-thirds of electricity needs by 2030, according to new research.

The research carried out for the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) shows this could be delivered at the same overall cost as meeting only half of total demand by that date.

The findings suggest the UK could make significant progress towards its net-zero targets if the right steps are taken, leading the NIC to update its recommended target for the deployment of renewables as part of a low-cost, low-carbon electricity system from 50% to 65% by 2030.

According to the NIC, the latest analysis reflects the impact of the falling cost of renewable electricity technologies and the speed with which they have proven to be built. It believes shifts in government policy to support more renewable electricity schemes as part of a green recovery would boost private investment to drive innovation and provide confidence in the economy at a crucial time.

Sir John Armitt, chair of the NIC, said: “The government should be credited for recent steps to encourage quicker deployment of renewables, and for setting up successful mechanisms for encouraging private sector investments.

“These latest projections suggest we can afford to go further, faster without hitting consumers in the pocket.”

David Smith, chief executive of the Energy Networks Association, which is currently lobbying for UK Government investment into hydrogen and biomethane-friendly gas pipelines, said: “We welcome the NIC’s latest report and fully agree that now is the time to accelerate the rollout of renewable generation.

“More renewables need to be backed by not only a strengthened grid, but also a smarter, more agile network, the central focus of our Open Networks project. A smarter, greener grid can help shift demand to when renewables supply is plentiful, supporting the decarbonisation of transport and heat while minimising the cost to the consumer.”

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