As COP26 – the Glasgow climate summit – draws closer, we hope to see a number of new sustainability targets and policies put in place by each of the participating countries – and this month, the UK government took a promising first step by enhancing its 2035 target. We’ve also seen Ofgem take action to encourage greater flexibility, and exciting research has shown that renewables can supply global demand – here’s what you need to know:
Boris Johnson to enshrine 78% emissions cut by 2035 into law
Ofgem gives green light to half-hourly settlement in retail electricity market
Report proves renewables can meet global demand
BORIS JOHNSON TO ENSHRINE 78% EMISSIONS CUT BY 2035 INTO LAW
The Prime Minister has agreed to set a new legally-binding target to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions by 78% by 2035 (compared to 1990 levels). This move comes after the Climate Change Committee’s (CCC’s) Sixth Carbon Budget was published in December 2020, in which the CCC advised that the UK will need to achieve at least a 78% emissions reduction by 2035 if it is to reach its net zero target by 2050.
The new target is one of the most ambitious in the world, building on the UK’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement, which requires the UK to reduce emissions by 68% by 2030 (compared to 1990 levels). It will also include aviation and shipping emissions, which have never been included in any of the UK’s previous targets. The UK will therefore need to take urgent action to ensure we can achieve it. All new cars, vans and replacement boilers will need to be zero carbon in operation by the early 2030s, and our electricity production must also reach net zero by 2035. The CCC estimates that 40% of the emissions reductions needed can be achieved through investment in tech solutions, while the remainder will be met through behaviour change, including switching to EVs and reducing demand for flights.
At Bryt Energy, we know how urgent it is to tackle the climate crisis, and so we welcome this positive step towards a more sustainable future. As we move closer to COP26, we can expect the Government to increase the pressure on businesses to play their part in achieving the UK’s ambitious targets through campaigns like the Race to Zero. This is a global initiative, backed by science-based targets, to commit businesses, cities, investors and universities to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. To find out more about the UK’s new 2035 target and what we will need to do to reach it, click here.
OFGEM GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO HALF-HOURLY SETTLEMENT IN RETAIL ELECTRICITY MARKET
Ofgem has agreed to roll out half-hourly settlement across Britain’s retail electricity market, which will help to support an increasingly flexible energy system as we move towards a low carbon future.
Currently, only larger businesses’ meter readings are settled half-hourly; their meters record their consumption every half an hour and send that information to their supplier. This means that the amount of electricity they’re using can be compared with the amount being generated and ‘settled’ every 30 minutes. When it comes to smaller businesses, Ofgem has historically estimated their consumption, with estimates only being updated when their meters are read. Moving to half-hourly settlement will provide suppliers and the grid with a much more accurate picture of how and when businesses are using electricity, so they can balance the entire electricity market every half an hour.
It’s hoped that having access to more detailed data on businesses’ energy consumption will encourage suppliers to develop innovative products and services, like time of use tariffs and vehicle-to-grid solutions. This should in turn encourage businesses to embrace flexibility, which will reduce the need for new and expensive infrastructure upgrades. In fact, Ofgem believes that moving all businesses to half-hourly settlement could save customers between £1.6 – £4.5 billion by 2045.
These changes are set to be rolled out over four and a half years, so it might be some time until your business sees the benefits – but you can rest assured that we’ll keep you updated. For more information, click here.
REPORT PROVES RENEWABLES CAN MEET GLOBAL DEMAND
New research from thinktank Carbon Tracker has found that as the cost of renewable generation continues to fall, renewable energy could remove fossil fuels from the electricity mix by 2035.
Carbon Tracker found that 60% of the world’s solar generation resource and 15% of its wind resource are already on par with local fossil fuel generation in regards to cost. They also discovered that current solar PV technology could provide almost 5.8 billion Gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity annually, while onshore and offshore wind could account for 900 million GWh a year. In 2019, global energy consumption stood at 65 PWh. This means that when combined, existing wind and solar technologies could potentially meet global energy demand 100 times over.
With solar costs falling by an average of 18% per year since 2010 and wind prices falling by an average of 9% per year in the same time, this report provides encouraging evidence that renewable energy can meet global demand. To find out more, click here.