The latest report warns that the UK must adopt new green tech to achieve climate goals
A recent study from Drax and Imperial College London has cautioned that, despite renewables providing more electricity than fossil fuels for the first time, the UK must implement new green technology to help the UK achieve its climate goals.
Independent research performed by academics for Drax Electric Insights via Imperial Consultants indicates that, as part of its attempts to reach its national climate goals, the UK would need a variety of emerging green technologies complementing renewables such as wind and solar.
Although renewable energy exceeded fossil fuels for the first time in 2020, and carbon emissions plummeted by 16 percent year-on-year, this was primarily attributed to decreasing demand caused by COVID-19 lockdowns, when gas and coal power plants were turned town.
According to the Climate Change Committee, wind and solar provided 30 percent of the UK's electricity in 2020, around half of the share expected by 2025 for the UK to meet its climate goals.
Dr Iain Staffell of Imperial College London and lead author of the quarterly Electric Insights report, said: “2020 saw the UK edge closer to the power system of the future with renewables generating more power than fossil fuels. Flexible technologies like pumped hydro storage kept the system stable as supply from renewables increased and demand for power fell.
“The next steps we must take towards a net-zero power system will be more challenging – driving out the last sources of fossil carbon will require us to go beyond just having more wind and solar power.
“New business models, backed by policy and investment, will be needed to bring advanced but proven technologies into the mainstream. This means that the electricity used in homes, hospitals, offices, and factories could even be carbon negative – sourced from a range of low, zero-carbon and negative emissions technologies.”
In 2020, a Vivid Economics study showed that the introduction of cutting-edge green technologies such as BECCS (bioenergy with carbon capture and storage) and hydrogen could produce and sustain about 200,000 jobs across the UK to support a green economic recovery after COVID.
Will Gardiner, CEO of Drax Group, commented: “Drax is Europe’s largest decarbonisation project having transformed the UK’s biggest power station to use sustainable biomass instead of coal, creating the country’s largest single-site renewable electricity generator while supporting thousands of jobs.
“Biomass is unique among renewable technologies due to its versatility, from being used in power generation to hydrogen production – and even new forms of plastics. Add to this its ability to deliver negative emissions with BECCS – biomass is one of our most valuable tools for reaching net-zero emissions – a technology Drax is ready to invest in.”