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Greater energy independence requires more focus on energy efficiency 

7th April 2022

Reacting to the publication of the British Energy Security Strategy, Ana Musat, Head of Policy at Aldersgate Group said: “Accelerating the decarbonisation of the UK's power sector, electrifying more sectors of the economy and driving greater energy efficiency all have an essential role to play in improving the UK's energy security. With this in mind, we welcome the ambition in today’s British Energy Security Strategy to provide 95% of electricity from low carbon sources by 2030, the boosted targets for technologies such as offshore wind and solar power and the increased ambition in low carbon and green hydrogen. The stronger focus on delivery – including on transmission connections for offshore wind projects – is very welcome. However, the Government’s ambitions in low-cost onshore wind could be much bolder and it is disappointing to see so little focus on new regulatory measures and incentives to drive more investment in energy efficiency. Reducing energy demand is an essential part of lowering energy bills for households and businesses and making our economy more resilient to price shocks.”  
 
Ana Musat added: “It is however encouraging to see an emphasis on planning reforms aimed at bringing shovel-ready renewable projects online much faster, by simplifying the process for obtaining transmission grid connections and streamlining the consenting regime. Currently, transmission connections and grid reinforcement projects can take on average between 6-8 years from formulation to consent, with costs between £15- £50m per project [1]. This clearly needs to be reduced to maximise the full potential of the UK’s offshore wind sector and its capacity to deliver clean, cheap power.”
 
Ana Musat concluded: “Whilst unprecedented short-term energy security concerns mean measures like improving gas storage capacity and optimising production from existing fields in the North Sea are necessary, accelerating the transition to net zero emissions will be the most effective way to improve the UK’s energy security and economic resilience in the medium and long term. It is therefore crucial that the Government’s policy capacity remains focused on this in the years ahead and that the rapid implementation of the Net Zero Strategy is a cross-government priority.”
 
[1] Quod Consulting (March 2021) - National Grid: Planning for 40GW by 2030 – how to meet the challenge

Windfarm for old site

Aldersgate Group comment: IPCC Working Group III report

4th April 2022

Responding to the findings of today’s IPCC Working Group III report on climate mitigation, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “Today’s IPCC report is a reminder that despite the ongoing geopolitical crisis, the risks relating to climate change have not gone away and require an urgent response, including a rapid reduction in fossil fuel use. The IPCC’s companion report on adaptation [1] and the UK’s own climate change risk assessment [2] made clear the dangers we face now and in the future through further inaction. In response to today’s report, the UK Government should press ahead with its Net Zero Strategy and should use its Energy Security Strategy expected later this week to significantly scale up renewable energy, support more electrification across key sectors and drive energy efficiency across the economy. Reducing reliance on volatile and expensive fossil fuels and accelerating the net zero transition not only makes sense to lower emissions, it also presents an opportunity to boost energy security, drive down energy bills and level up the economy [3].
 
Nick Molho added: It is positive to see the report highlight the importance of action in this decade to mitigate the built environment’s carbon emissions. The UK must increase its ambition in this area and take action to drive investment in energy efficiency, and deliver the skills programmes required to make the most of this opportunity in line with the recommendations of the Green Jobs Taskforce. The decarbonisation of heavy industry also features as a priority in the IPCC report. The UK is off to a good start on industrial decarbonisation but must push ahead with policies that make low carbon fuels more widely available to heavy industries, whilst also growing the demand for low carbon industrial products through initiatives such as product standards and a carbon border adjustment mechanism [4].
 
Nick Molho concluded: “Despite a challenging context, the international community must present a united front on delivering the ambitious action needed to address the climate crisis. As COP President, the UK Government has a crucial role to play in this process. The UK must ensure that by the start of COP27, nations deliver on promises made in Glasgow to increase emission reduction pledges (INDCs) at COP27, make stronger commitments to phase out fossil fuels, put forward tangible emission reduction plans and actually deliver on the climate finance promised to developing economies. With a world leading climate policy framework and one of the first net zero strategies of any major economy, the UK also has a huge role to play in sharing its policy development and institutional expertise with other nations, and in particular developing economies.”

[1] IPCC, AR6 Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, February 2022
[2] UK Government, UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2022, January 2022
[3] Aldersgate Group, Net Zero Strategy Policy Tracker, October 2022
[4] Aldersgate Group, The Missing Link: Establishing Strong UK Supply Chains for Low Carbon Industrial Products, March 2022 

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