Responding to the Committee on Climate Change’s reports on UK climate change commitments and energy efficiency, Dr Jenifer Baxter, Head of Energy and Environment released the following statements:
“The findings of the Committee on Climate Change confirm that the lack of clear energy policy is jeopardising not only our energy security, but also our ability to meet the UK’s stretching carbon targets.
“In terms of the electricity sector, there has been a policy vacuum which is hampering investment into new power plants, as well as research and development into emerging technologies that can potentially bridge the imminent supply gap. This technology provides the potential to make fossil fuel generation low carbon. There is great promise for this technology to be used to store emissions from gas-fired power stations in the future.
The Government has outlined plans for the winding-down of coal-fired generation and with just one nuclear reactor currently being planned, the UK looks set to experience a new dash for gas.
“The Government has outlined plans for the winding-down of coal-fired generation and with just one nuclear reactor currently being planned, the UK looks set to experience a new dash for gas. Without CCS technology this will mean we are locking ourselves into relying on unabated fossil fuel power for generations to come.
“The Institution highlighted the issues related to decarbonising and reducing energy use through heating in our report Heat Energy: The Nation’s Forgotten Crisis in 2015 and in our electricity supply report Engineering the UK electricity gap earlier this year. These included the loss of zero carbon homes and the removal of the tax incentive on insulation products, leaving no clear direction for developers or homeowners to reduce their energy use or challenge the incumbent system.
“Government has also failed to implement effective incentives to encourage greater energy efficiency and the UK’s planned exit from the European Union is causing yet further investor uncertainty. The UK has the potential to meet these stretching energy and climate change targets, but Government and industry must work together to support research and development programmes to create applied knowledge and encourage innovations in technologies such as CCS, hydrogen and energy storage.”