Ministers must seize the opportunity to turn the COVID-19 crisis into a
defining moment in the fight against climate change, the Committee on Climate
Change (CCC) claimed in its annual
For the first time, the committee set out its recommendations in a government
department by government department context. These, it claims, are the
urgent steps that must be taken in the months ahead to initiate a green,
resilient COVID-19 recovery. They can be delivered through strong coordination
CCC Chairman Lord Deben said: “The UK is facing its biggest economic
shock for a generation. Meanwhile, the global crisis of climate change
is accelerating. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to address these
urgent challenges together; it’s there for the taking. The steps that
the UK takes to rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic can accelerate the transition
to a successful and low-carbon economy and improve our climate resilience.
Choices that lock in emissions or climate risks are unacceptable."
Commenting on the latest progress report by the Committee on Climate Change,
RenewableUK’s Head of Policy and Regulation Rebecca Williams said:
“To meet net zero and recover from Covid, we need to put a rocket under
our economy and that rocket has to run on clean energy. The CCC is clear
about the huge opportunities right across the renewable energy sector and
if we can invest early in emerging technologies like floating offshore
wind and renewable hydrogen, the UK can build world-leading industries.
A green economic recovery after the pandemic can create tens of thousands
of jobs and attract billions in investment.
“It’s good to see the CCC highlighting the Government’s upcoming White
Paper on energy as an ideal opportunity to accelerate progress on electrifying
and decarbonising the heat and transport sectors, as well as scaling up
battery storage to provide even greater flexibility”.
The CCC key findings included strengthening energy networks with offshore
wind expected to play a major role. The committee stated in its report
that offshore wind costs have fallen from £140-150/MWh for new projects
in 2014 to around £40/MWh - below the cost of new gas-fired generation
- for projects coming online in the mid-2020s. It outlined offshore wind
power is the fastest growing source of electricity in the UK, with further
potential for more than 75 GW of offshore wind farms to be operational
by 2050. The CCC recommended that BEIS should develop a strategy to coordinate
interconnectors and offshore networks for wind farms and their connections
to the onshore network.
Also responding to the report, Vattenfall’s UK Country Manager Danielle
Lane said: “The UK is going to need a wide mix of low-carbon and renewable
heat and power if it is to reach net zero, and the Committee on Climate
Change is absolutely right to call for at least 40GW of offshore wind generation
by 2030. This is a critical moment for offshore wind in this country, and
the industry is watching for a strong signal of intent that the Government
is serious about maintaining the UK’s position as a global leader. It
can send that signal right now by avoiding further planning delays and
approving offshore projects which are ready to go - such as Vattenfall’s
Norfolk Vanguard and Boreas projects which could power over 3.5 million
homes with green electricity - as well as boosting support to develop UK
“The CCC also highlights the possibilities for reducing emissions in all
areas of our lives beyond power generation, including heating and transport.
But if we are to make the rapid progress needed in these areas, then policy
choices should prioritise the lowest carbon options now – such as green
hydrogen for transport and heavy industry – rather than CCS.
“Likewise, when it comes to heating buildings, decision-makers must stop
trying to incentivise one technology over another. Heat is an essential
service, and heat networks, heat pumps, and other technologies all have
a role to play. So we need to see clear policies which support each one
in the areas of the country where they will be most effective, without
piling costs on to people who can least afford to pay.”