WOBO thanks edie newsroom for the notice that the UK Government intends to develop plans for shifting all electricity generation to clean sources by 2035.
Speaking during a visit to a Network Rail site in Manchester as part of the Conservative Party Conference, Boris Johnson said it would be possible to end gas-fired electricity generation in the UK by 2035 – 11 years after coal-fired electricity generation will legally be required to cease.
This would mean the entirety of the nation’s electricity generation mix would be accounted for by renewables – primarily wind and solar – as well as nuclear. During each month in 2020, an average of 41% of generation was accounted for by these sources, according to the National Grid Energy System Operator (ESO).
Johnson said: “We can do for our entire energy production by 2035 what we’re doing with internal combustion engine vehicles by 2030.
“From 2030, you won’t be able to buy any more a new hydrocarbon-fuelled internal combustion engine car and we’re going to move either to electric vehicles (EVs) or vehicles powered by hydrogen or clean power of one kind or another…And what we’re also saying is that by 2035, looking at the progress we’re making in wind power – where we lead the world now in offshore wind – looking at what we can do with other renewable sources, carbon capture and storage with hydrogen potentially, we think that we can get to complete clean energy production by 2035.”
The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) recent roadmap to a global net-zero energy system by 2050 stated that advanced economies such as the UK should target net-zero electricity by 2035. Canada and the US have already set such targets. The UK has, therefore, felt pressure to follow suit as COP26 host.
As well as emphasising the low-carbon benefit of ending gas-fired electricity generation, Johnson stated that the move would protect consumers from fluctuating gas import prices.
Wholesale gas prices are up 250% on January levels, with prices having risen by at least 70% since August alone. Skyrocketing prices have forced several small suppliers to go out of business in recent weeks. This trend has prompted many businesses, industry bodies and think-tanks to urge Ministers to firm up plans for more nuclear and renewable generation.
Johnson’s speech does not mean the new target is legally binding yet. It may well form part of the forthcoming Net-Zero Strategy, due for publication before COP26 officially opens on 31 October.