New low-carbon electricity most cost-effective option for UK power sector



Reacting to a new report today from the Government’s Committee on Climate Change saying that low-carbon electricity is the most cost-effective way to meet the need for more generation in the 2020s given the UK’s climate change commitments.

Power sector scenarios for the fifth carbon budget has been published on the CCC website this morning. You can access it here.

Friends of the Earth senior energy campaigner Simon Bullock said: “The Government’s own advisers say it will be cheaper to use low-carbon electricity rather than gas to power our economy in the 2020s.

“Ministers should be championing the UK renewable sector, instead of strangling the life out of solar and on-shore wind, threatening tens of thousands of jobs and pushing up bills in the future. Energy bill payers and our climate will pay a hefty price for the Government’s costly and short sighted obsession with gas, oil and fracking.”

Lord Turner of Ecchinswell said: “This report confirms what other recent analyses have also found, namely that the cheapest forms of renewable energy are increasingly cost-competitive with fossil fuels for electricity generation.

“But if the Government wants to have a genuinely level playing field, it’s imperative that fossil fuel generators pay the full costs to society of their emissions, which can be accomplished simply by raising the carbon floor price. As the Committee makes clear, this will also keep customers’ bills down, so it’s a win-win strategy for the Treasury.”

Professor Catherine Mitchell, Professor of Energy Policy, University of Exeter, said: “With DECC apparently planning to release a report on the ‘real cost’ of renewables next month, this report from the CCC is a useful contribution.

“It’s clear that renewables like onshore wind and solar are nearly cost-competitive already with fossil fuel generators, and crucially the Committee states that remains true even if the costs of managing their variable output are included.

“It also confirms what many professionals know already, that the way forward in electricity systems is through flexibility and efficiency, using demand response and interconnectors with other countries, and that centralised baseload generation will increasingly be a thing of the past.”

Scottish Renewables’ Chief Executive Niall Stuart said: “The UK Government has consistently stressed its commitment to climate change targets whilst at the same time taking the knife to support schemes for renewables. This report is just the latest in a series from independent experts which show that delivering on the Government’s energy promises will require significant growth in renewables – and other low carbon generation – over the next 15 years.

“We would urge ministers to set out their own clear ambitions for renewables and how they intend to deliver those – or credible alternatives that will deliver the same levels of carbon reduction for a similar cost. If they don’t, they risk their climate change pledges starting to sound a little hollow as we build up to the global climate change talks in Paris next month.

“The report also highlights that ‘established’ renewables such as onshore wind and solar power are already on track to undercut the costs of power from new gas-fired power stations by the end of this decade, and the role that both could play in meeting carbon targets at the lowest overall cost to consumers.”


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