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Future energy supply options

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The decarbonisation challenge
‘We have ambitious climate and renewable targets in place to build a cleaner and cheaper energy future for Britain and the world: Our Carbon Plan suggests that to meet these carbon targets around 60 – 80 Gw of new electricity generating capacity will need to be built by 2030, and that around 40 – 70 Gw of this will need to come from low carbon technologies.’

‘The estimated level of required investment between now and the end of the decade is between £100 [billion] and £110 billion, of which £60 – 70 billion is attributable to generation and around £40 billion to networks.’

Reform of the UK electricity market
‘As we see new low carbon technologies mature along with nuclear and Carbon Capture and Storage, we will undoubtedly see fossil fuel generation reduce, this will see secure, cleaner energy at an affordable cost to consumers.’

Low carbon innovation is a huge opportunity for the UK
‘The DECC carbon plan identifies that innovation is essential to meet the UK future energy needs.

‘Investment in innovation now will improve the affordability of the technologies we deploy in the future, reduce bills for householders and businesses, and strengthen energy security by offering a range of technology options for the UK to deploy.

‘Indeed, recent growth figures show that green investment is paying back in spades and helping the UK to stay ahead in this global race.

‘The UK now has a share of the global low carbon goods and services market worth more than £120 billion annually, equivalent to 8% of GDP, and a third of the recent growth in the UK economy.

‘In a global market forecast to be worth £4 trillion by 2015, we need to continue to innovate to maintain our competitive advantage.

Challenges to overcome to capitalise on innovation
‘The two key challenges we face are:

  • Finance
  • Risk
'The first challenge innovators face is securing financing at the right time and throughout their development journey.

‘The other challenge, which is closely tied to costs, is risk. New technologies of course have unprecedented risk.

‘Independent performance verification and certification that a technology will work has to be met and trust has to be built.

‘If we can help reduce this risk we will speed up the uptake of new technologies, and encourage further private investment.’

Collaboration between government and innovators is essential
‘The private sector alone cannot deliver the innovation we need. We cannot rely on other countries to innovate in all key areas, and innovating ourselves puts us at a competitive advantage.’

‘In conclusion, we are creating a market that will support the transition to a low carbon future, drive competition and place the lowest possible cost burden on consumers.’

‘This support for low carbon innovation is a huge opportunity for the UK, the portfolio of technologies available tomorrow depends on what is done today.

But there are challenges we need to overcome and collaboration between business and government will be central to this.’

Adapted from speech by Claira Lloyd

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