Major corporate energy users Thames Water, BT and the Co-op are among thirteen big employers today calling for 100% decarbonisation of Britain’s power by 2035.
In a letter today to energy secretary of state Kwasi Kwarteng, the alliance call for the Johnson administration to set that deadline for all gas generation to be eradicated.
DUKES figures show that in 2020, around 30% of Britain’s power came from gas-fired plants, including LNG, down from 40% in the non-Covid year of 2019. Coal’s share sank to less than 2%.
A total of 28.7% of non-exported gas, equivalent to 231.4 TWh, was burned last year in the nation’s power stations, says the official source.
A 2035 target for gas eradication would build on the government’s declaration made in July to bring forward the cessation of coal-fired generation to October 2024, they argue.
“The time is right for the UK to signal an end to the use of unabated fossil fuels in the power sector”, the letter states.
Leaders of Nestlé UK & Ireland, Anglian Water, commercial property giants Landsec, facilities managers Mitie, consulting engineers Willmott Dixon and ethical bank Triodos are among signatories to today’s letter.
Big businesses with ambitious decarbonisation targets need greater government support to decarbonise hard-to-abate processes, the letter argues. Setting a direction of travel for a gas-free grid could provide certainty.
Setting 2035 as a goal for complete decarbonisation of energy will win Britain political leverage, the industrialists maintain. A declaration will ease progress at CoP26 in Glasgow in five weeks and win favour with the Biden administration.
“We stand ready to play our part in delivering fully decarbonised electricity by 2035”, the group declare.
“Meeting this target will be challenging, requiring new investments in renewable energy of up to £14 billion each year, a significantly greater level of investment than has been possible to date.
“However, with a commitment from the Government to deliver a fully decarbonised power system by 2035, we are confident this ambition can be achieved”
National Grid believes it can run Britain’s backbone transmission on a zero carbon basis as early as 2025. This summer the ESO revised its Future Energy Scenarios to ensure that three of the four transition routes identified comply with Whitehall’s net zero timelines.