Policymakers should increase targets for renewable power from 50 per cent of the generation mix to 65 per cent by 2030, according to the National Infrastructure Commission.
Doing so would not materially increase costs for consumers in the short or long term – even accounting for additional back-up and system balancing costs – because renewables are the cheapest form of generation, it suggests in a new report.
Across all modelled scenarios between 86 and 99GW of renewables must be deployed by 2030 to deliver an electricity system with 65 per cent renewable generation, per the report. This includes 40GW of offshore wind, 14–18GW of onshore wind, and 29–38 GW of solar.
That compares to some 32GW of offshore wind, 12GW of onshore wind and 9GW of solar PV currently in the pipeline.
To achieve net zero significant additional electrification will be needed, regardless of the future pathway for the UK’s heating infrastructure, said the NIC. The lower bound for electricity generation in 2050 in the Commission’s analysis is 465TWh, compared to approximately 345TWh today.
As such, the NIC said government should set out clear timetables with annual auctions and budget envelopes for support contracts (CfDs), which help stabilise revenues for generators, giving them the confidence to significantly ramp up investment, thereby creating jobs.
Renewables currently make up about 40 per cent of the UK generation mix.