The energy sector is today committing to investing in and delivering a net zero power system in the 2030s.
The sector, which has led the way in reducing the UK’s carbon emissions, makes its pledge in a new report “Towards Net Zero emissions: the energy industry’s commitment to the climate, customers and jobs”, published in the week before COP26 begins.
In the publication, Energy UK’s members state their commitment to continuing the transformation towards a system powered by clean energy, while keeping bills down for customers and maintaining security of supply.
In order to achieve this aim, the industry believes that there should be no further investment in new, unabated gas generation without clear plans to access carbon capture and storage technologies or utilise low or zero carbon gas.
However, the report also stresses that keeping pace with this ambition will depend on Government action and policies to deliver on the most ambitious emissions reduction targets of any major economy – from ensuring costs are spread fairly across the population to unleashing the billions of pounds investment needed to fund this transformation.
Massively increasing the supply of low carbon electricity and growing the supply of hydrogen will be crucial to delivering Net Zero by enabling other sectors to follow the energy industry’s lead through decarbonising our homes, our transport system, industry and the wider economy.
The report states the sector’s belief that doing so represents a huge economic opportunity with billions of pounds of investment creating growth and opportunities right across the country. The sector, which supported 700,000 jobs and invested £12bn in 2020, is committed to supporting the training and upskilling required to enable long-term skilled employment in the low carbon economy.
It adds that the current turbulence in the energy market underlines the need to reduce our dependence on imported gas and move to a system powered by a diverse range of low carbon generation, storage and other technologies with renewables providing the lions’ share.
In order to help deliver on this commitment, the energy industry is calling for: a new Energy Bill, given the scale of action required across policy and regulation; market frameworks to support low carbon technologies like annual Contracts for Difference auctions; linking the UK Emission Trading System (ETS) to the EU ETS; final investment decisions on new nuclear; a reduction in planning and infrastructure barriers; and comprehensive system and market reform.
The report also underlines the need for: a package of support for customers with the changes necessary to decarbonise homes; a strategy for creating a sustainable retail market; a review of how policy costs are allocated; mandates on car manufacturers to increase sales of EVs and incentives for drivers to switch to them; and identifying the skills and roles needed in the sector for the energy transition and working with Government to deliver the right training and re-skilling programmes to fill these positions, particularly in the communities most impacted.
Energy UK’s chief executive, Emma Pinchbeck, said:
“The energy sector has led the way in reducing the UK’s emissions and it’s our industry who will enable Net Zero by powering the low carbon economy – from homes to industry to transport and beyond.
“The current challenges facing the energy sector, and the wider economy, only emphasise the need to accelerate our journey to a future where we won’t be at the mercy of volatile fossil fuel prices.
“As this report shows, the energy sector is fully committed to meeting that challenge. Over the last few years, the industry has shown that with the right policies in place, change can happen quicker – and at less cost – than anyone thought possible.
“But the energy sector cannot do this alone so we need the Government to help deliver the policies and actions to enable this transformation and create a better future for our environment, our economy, our health – and our customers.”
Notes to Editors
- Energy UK is the trade association for the energy industry with over 100 members spanning every aspect of the energy sector – from established FTSE 100 companies right through to new, growing suppliers and generators, which now make up over half of our membership. We represent the diverse nature of the UK’s energy industry with our members delivering over 80% of both the UK’s power generation and energy supply for the 28 million UK homes as well as businesses. The energy industry invests £13bn annually, delivers £31bn in gross value added on top of the £95bn in economic activity through its supply chain and interaction with other sectors, and supports 738,000 jobs in every corner of the country.