Bryt Insight July 2023

Bryt Energy
| 18th July 2023 | Bryt Insight
Rooftops can unlock UK’s solar potential
Climate Change Committee urges Government to accelerate net zero progress
Ofgem will be required to take net zero responsibility
Spotlight on renewables
News in brief

As we reach the height of the summer season, we will shine a spotlight on some of this month’s recommendations, breakthroughs and success stories for UK solar energy. We’ll also look at the stark results from the Climate Change Committee’s (CCC) report to Parliament on progress towards net zero, and what they might mean for businesses. Here’s what you need to know this month:

Rooftops can unlock UK’s solar potential

The UK Government’s newly formed Solar Taskforce is urging organisations to embrace solar energy installations on sites such as offices, schools, warehouses, and car parks1. The Taskforce believes the “untapped potential” of rooftop solar installations could play a pivotal role in meeting the UK’s solar targets.

The Taskforce was set up by the Government earlier this year to help reach the UK’s target of increasing solar capacity by almost five times to 70GW by 2035. At its first meeting, the Taskforce discussed how to drive more rooftop installations, and agreed that reducing costs for businesses and households looking to install solar panels will be a priority.

Also on the agenda was the plan to publish a solar roadmap next year to outline how to reach the Government’s 2035 target. This includes plans to upskill and grow the UK’s solar workforce and secure resilient supply chains. The latter is particularly significant for UK businesses, with the Taskforce envisioning opportunities to showcase their expertise and drive innovation on the international market.

A recent study conducted by the CPRE, the Countryside Charity, also looks at the untapped potential for UK solar. The findings show the installation of solar panels on unutilised rooftops and covered car parks could unlock at least 40GW of renewable energy in England by 2035, a figure the CPRE calls for the Government to adopt as a national target2.

The CPRE report finds that, with the right investment, this potential could reach up to 117GW by 2050. Its report makes recommendations to the Government such as amending planning rules to require all new suitable buildings to have solar panels. This would involve updating regulations so that solar capacity becomes a requirement of planning permission for major refurbishments and new residential, commercial and industrial buildings. For more details, the report can be found here.

While the Solar Taskforce and CPRE are bringing attention to the potential for more rooftop installations, the UK Government has granted consent for the construction of what will be one of the country’s largest ground-mounted solar farms3. Located near Terling in Essex, Longfield Solar Farm will boast a generating capacity of up to 500MW and will incorporate battery storage and grid connection infrastructure.

It is likely that deploying both of these approaches will give the UK the best chance of reaching its 2035 target. To learn more, read the latest from the Solar Taskforce here, or read the CPRE’s report, here.

Climate Change Committee urges Government to accelerate net zero progress

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) – the Government’s independent advisor on climate change – has published its 2023 Progress Report to Parliament4, warning the UK is off-track to meet its 2050 net zero target.

The annual report gives an overview to Parliament of how prepared the Government is to reduce emissions and deliver the UK’s legally-binding net zero target based on its current policies. This year’s publication outlines a general “lack of urgency” and highlights specific areas of concern within sectors making slower progress. For example, it warned that policies for the surface transport sector – which includes road and rail – meets just 38% of the required emissions reductions needed by the mid-2030s.

The report made a total of 300 recommendations to accelerate progress, including 27 priorities which address areas such as industry, energy supply and buildings. Key recommendations that might be of interest to businesses include:

  • Providing adequate support to accelerate industrial decarbonisation.
  • Ensuring net zero is consistently prioritised through the planning system to facilitate the uptake of low-carbon infrastructure.
  • Supporting existing energy efficiency programmes with long-term guarantees or suitable replacements. For example, although the Climate Change Agreement (CCA) scheme has been extended by two years to 2027, its longer-term future is still uncertain.
  • Publishing guidance for businesses on what activities it is appropriate to use carbon credits to offset, specifying that they can only do so to claim net zero once all possible emissions are reduced. Guidance should also encourage companies to disclose why carbon credits are used.

Kat Wilton, Head of Marketing & Sustainability, Bryt Energy, said: “The latest CCC Progress Report to Parliament is a stark reminder that more needs to be done if the UK is to keep pace with its net zero targets. The good news is the solutions and low carbon technology needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are not only widely available but are also becoming increasingly affordable. What we need now is rapid action across all sectors and systems to accelerate the transition to net zero.”

Further guidance for businesses and Government has also been released with the CCC’s The Power of Partnership report. The CCC has recommended that businesses and Government collaborate to follow the “Five I’s” framework, which involves measuring emissions, investing and implementing low carbon solutions, piloting emerging technology and helping to engage and influence public action on net zero. These five business actions, under the headings of Integrity, Investment, Implementation, Innovation and Influence, should be enabled and supported through Government policy and a “net zero business partnership”5.

To find out more about the recent CCC publications, read the Progress Report to Parliament here, and the Power of Partnership report here.

Ofgem will be required to take net zero responsibility

The Energy Bill currently going through Parliament will now require energy regulator Ofgem to consider and prioritise the UK’s 2050 net zero target when making decisions. This will help ensure the UK’s energy system is aligned with the 2050 goal – for example when approving new energy projects, Ofgem could prioritise low-carbon schemes. The amendment was adopted by the Government, having been put forward following growing calls from environmental groups and businesses. Ofgem has welcomed the amendment, saying it sends “a clear message” that the UK must end its “historic dependency” on fossil fuels6. The regulator added that the move showed that net zero was the “best option” for achieving greater energy security and lower costs.

Spotlight on renewables

In further good news for solar this month, a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) has found solar investments are set to surpass those in oil production for the first time in history7. The “World Energy Investment 2023” report says $382 billion is set to be allocated to solar this year, versus $371 billion for oil production. In total, more than $1.7 trillion is expected to be invested in “clean energy technologies” in 2023, which includes renewables, electric vehicles, storage and heat pumps. It comes as the IEA reports in a separate study that global oil demand will reach its peak in 2028, with demand then set to decrease8. The report attributes these changes to a range of factors, including the global switch to low carbon energy sources and the increased emphasis on energy efficiency improvements. For more information, download the World Energy Investment report here, and the IEA’s Oil 2023 report here.

Despite increasing global competition, the UK has maintained its position as the fourth most attractive country for renewable energy investment, according to EY’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI)9. Recent positive developments have contributed to the UK holding its ranking, including:

  • an increase in the allocation for the Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction round to £205 million, with the inclusion of onshore wind for the first time
  • the target of hosting 10GW of green and blue hydrogen generation capacity by 2030, with at least half being green hydrogen (a sustainable alternative to fossil fuel gas, which is made using water and an electrolyser powered by renewable electricity)
  • the proposed creation of a globally-recognised green hydrogen certification scheme by early 2025.
News in brief
  • At the IEA’s Global Conference on Energy Efficiency, policy makers from around the world endorsed the goal of doubling the rate of energy efficiency improvements by 203010. The IEA said achieving the goal would be key to both reaching net zero emissions and meeting the Paris Agreement’s goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Doubling the rate of energy efficiency investments could see benefits such as reduced energy bills and lower levels of air pollution. Global leaders hope the public sector could be a role model for improving energy efficiency and thereby encourage other sectors such as industry, service, buildings, transport and agriculture to follow suit.
  • LinkedIn’s Global Green Skills Report 2023 shows 33% of postings in the past year on its UK site were “green jobs” – representing the highest proportion of postings globally11. LinkedIn’s definition of “green jobs” includes roles in low-carbon sectors such as renewable energy and EV manufacturing, as well as corporate sustainability positions. Despite the positive demand, LinkedIn’s report also revealed just one in eight workers globally possess “green skills”, highlighting a need for rapid upskilling in this area. You can read the report here.
  • The Department of Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) have released figures showing that almost half of electricity in quarter one of 2023 came from renewable sources. The record share of 47.8% of total electricity generation is 2.4% higher than the same period last year, and a momentous increase from the same period in 2010 when the proportion of electricity from renewables was just 5.8%12.
TALK TO OUR TEAM

If you have any questions on how any of the updates might affect your business, our team of experts is on hand to answer them. You can get in touch with us on 01217267575 or at heretohelp@brytenergy.co.uk.

Sources

 

1. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/untapped-potential-of-commercial-buildings-could-revolutionise-uk-solar-power

 

2. https://www.cpre.org.uk/news/rooftops-can-provide-over-half-our-solar-energy-targets-report-shows/

 

3. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/longfield-solar-farm-development-consent-decision-announced

 

4. https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/2023-progress-report-to-parliament/

 

5. https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/the-power-of-partnership-unlocking-business-action-on-net-zero-expert-advisory-group/

 

6. https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/ofgem-welcomes-proposed-legal-mandate-prioritise-uks-2050-net-zero-target

 

7. https://www.iea.org/news/clean-energy-investment-is-extending-its-lead-over-fossil-fuels-boosted-by-energy-security-strengths

 

8. https://www.iea.org/reports/oil-2023/executive-summary

 

9. https://www.ey.com/en_gl/recai/will-local-ambition-fast-track-or-frustrate-the-global-energy-transition

 

10. https://www.iea.org/news/at-iea-conference-45-governments-endorse-goal-of-doubling-global-energy-efficiency-progress-by-2030

 

11. https://economicgraph.linkedin.com/research/global-green-skills-report

 

12. https://www.current-news.co.uk/renewables-accounted-for-almost-half-of-electricity-in-q1-2023/

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