The Government is “asleep at the wheel” in the push to achieve a zero-carbon electricity system by 2035, according to a report from its climate change advisor.
The Climate Change Committee (CCC) warned the target could be missed altogether unless the current pace of infrastructure deployment is accelerated.
It has set out a series of recommendations alongside the Government’s Energy Security Strategy commitments to renewables and nuclear including new low-carbon back-up generation, with hydrogen-based power stations and some continued use of fossil gas, made low-carbon through use of carbon capture and storage.
It also wants to see smart shifting of consumer demand, to help to smooth peaks in demand and absorb excess supply, especially through controlled timing of electric vehicle charging and use of heat pumps.
The CCC also says new storage solutions beyond the use of batteries are critical, including the use of surplus generation to produce hydrogen through electrolysis, providing long-term storage so it can later be used to generate electricity.
Lord Deben, Chairman of the CCC, said: “The offer of cheap, decarbonised electricity for every consumer and business is now within reach, thanks to pioneering efforts to develop renewables.
“We know how to do this, but Government is asleep at the wheel. Recent commitments for new nuclear and renewables are welcome, but these alone are insufficient. A rapid overhaul of the planning system and regulations is needed.”