The UK’s independent energy regulator Ofgem has published its Decarbonisation Action Plan, outlining the steps it believes need to be taken to ensure the UK meets its net zero obligations.
One of the main commitments is to increase offshore wind generation four-fold by 2030, which is part of the wider plan to develop a system that supports the growth of the renewable power industry as a whole, and results in 10 million electric vehicles on the roads in the UK by 2030.
Jonathan Brearley, new chief executive of Ofgem, launched the plan on his first day in office. Commenting on the proposals, he stressed that the UK needs to go further with its decarbonisation “particularly on heat and transport”.
Although he pointed out that the UK has decarbonised quicker than any other major world economy, he said that there is much more that needs to be done.
“It is now vital that the energy industry rises to the challenge and demonstrates how it will work with the government and Ofgem to decarbonise Britain’s energy system at lowest cost,” Mr Brearley said.
He also pointed to the importance of developing a flexible energy system that can “respond to peaks and troughs in both supply and demand”.
Under the Decarbonisation Action Plan there are nine actions that the regulator wants to deliver on, including ensuring that the UK’s energy networks are ready to deliver net zero. Among the other actions are providing support to the government to help it decarbonise the heat and transport sectors, and supporting the roll out of electric vehicles.
Ofgem plans to publish an Electric Vehicle Strategy that will explore how best to manage the roll out of these kinds of vehicles, as well as how to develop power grids to cope with increased demand for electricity.
Where offshore wind is concerned, the regulator wants to see a “more coordinated approach” to the sector’s development, which will “make it easier and cheaper for the electricity that offshore wind generates to reach consumers”.
However, despite the government asserting that it wants more of the UK’s power to come from offshore wind farms, there is much that needs to be done to achieve this goal.
iNews recently shared the findings of a report by Aurora Energy Research, which found that the UK will need to install at least one turbine every weekday for the next decade if it is to quadruple capacity in the sector by 2030, as suggested by the Ofgem plan and the government’s own decarbonisation strategy.
If this ambitious target is achieved, it will mean that over one-third of the country’s energy will be generated by offshore wind by the time we reach 2030.
The research also highlighted the need to balance the renewable energy sources the UK relies on.
It noted that although offshore wind will undoubtedly play a significant role in helping the country meet its decarbonisation goals, the likes of onshore wind and solar power also need to be part of the mix, not least of all because solar can produce power when wind generation is low.
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