Dramatic growth in renewable capacity has seen the UK’s electricity system more than halve its carbon intensity in the last decade, decarbonising twice as fast as any other major economy, according to a new report.
Renewable power has grown six-fold in the last decade, meaning British households have reduced their CO2 emissions by three quarters of a tonne per year, said academics from Imperial College London.
Although significant progress has been made, the research carried out for the Drax Electric Insights report also said the UK will need to rapidly develop more energy storage capacity if it is to continue its progress and achieve ambitions to grow offshore wind to 40GW by 2030.
Dr Iain Staffell of Imperial College London, and lead author of the Electric Insights reports, said: “The UK has decarbonised its power grid at an astonishing rate. Over the last decade the country has transformed itself from relying on coal to keep the lights on, to having its first coal-free month since the industrial revolution."
“While this progress in the power sector has been rapid, we now need to decarbonise wider society by using electricity to heat our homes and power our cars to achieve net zero by 2050. As the world marks five years since the Paris Agreement the UK offers an example of how fast energy transitions can be made.”
Meanwhile, the latest EY Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index has seen the UK rise by one place to fifth, thanks in part to major commitments to new offshore wind.
The US held onto the top spot as a result of Covid-19 stimulus packages and a pending commitment to re-join the Paris Climate Agreement following the election.