RenewableUK is urging Ministers to commit to specific deployment targets for floating wind, onshore wind, renewable hydrogen and marine energy, in the run-up to the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow in November
In a new document, Raising the bar: the world-leading energy commitments the UK should make ahead of COP26, RenewableUK argues that the Prime Minister’s new target of slashing emissions by 78% by 2035, and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, can only be achieved by setting out clear milestones to be met by 2030. It details the economic opportunities yet to be grasped in renewable energy development in the UK, and the international significance of the UK clarifying its clean energy targets ahead of COP26.
The government has already set a target of 1 GW of floating wind by 2030, but industry wants to aim higher and double this within that timeframe to reach 2 GW.
“Floating wind enables us to build in much deeper waters than fixed-bottom windfarms, opening up vast areas of seabed,” said RenewableUK. “Doing so is critical not only for the development of clean energy in the UK, but also in other countries with deep waters, like Japan, South Africa, and Brazil.
“The more we build, the faster we can accelerate cost reduction. As the costs of the technology falls, just as they did in fixed offshore wind, we will see global development, UK exports and UK jobs grow in turn.”
The report notes that the UK already has a head start in the global race to scale up the production of renewable hydrogen, with ground-breaking trials underway such as the Gigastack project in the Humber and world-class electrolyser manufacturers like ITM Power.
RenewableUK is urging Ministers to set a minimum target of 5 GW of green hydrogen electrolyser capacity by 2030. The report also recommends 30 GW of onshore wind by the end of the decade and calls for the government to set a 1 GW target for marine energy such as tidal and wave power.
The document highlights the need for Ministers to continue to work closely with industry to maximise the number of apprenticeships and retraining opportunities for our future workforce as part of the Just Transition to renewables.
“A new ‘Just Transition Strategy,’ building on investment by industry and new government funding, would ensure that this transition from carbon intensive industries is inclusive, offering fresh opportunities throughout the country, especially in areas which need levelling up,” RenewableUK said.
The report’s author, RenewableUK head of public affairs Nathan Bennett said, “The UK has one of the strongest records on decarbonisation in the world. But to get to net zero emissions as fast as possible and ensure we’re maximising jobs and investment, the government needs to set out a detailed roadmap with specific milestones for the key renewable technologies which will get us there – starting with targets for 2030. We must ensure there are no gaps in our own ambitions if we’re to set the agenda for the rest of the world.
“Over-arching commitments to decarbonise by 2035 and 2050 are a great starting point, but there is so much to be gained by fleshing out comprehensive plans for renewable development which will underpin this. Ministers have already told us they want to see 40 GW of offshore wind built by the end of this decade – now they need to show countries around the world we’re as committed to onshore wind, floating wind, renewable hydrogen and marine energy as we’d like them to be.
“By enhancing our renewable energy targets, the UK doesn’t just show effective leadership on tackling climate change – we will also drive new investment and jobs in the renewable energy supply chain across the UK. We’re in a position to be a world-leader in technologies like floating wind, green hydrogen and marine energy, grasping the export potential of each industry’s inevitable global growth.”
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