By 2020, wind and solar energy will be equal to gas costs

. If gas is paid what it should by a carbon price then onshore and onshore solar power will likely become more competitive than gas-fired power generation, according the Committee on Climate Change. This independent body advises both the British Government and the devolved governments on climate change mitigation and preparation. Matthew Bell, Chief Executive of the Committee, stated that investors should focus their attention on the low-carbon energy sectors in the coming years to ensure we meet our expectations. The government needs to introduce policies to promote investment. According to the Committee, new low-carbon electricity generation represents a cost-effective option for British investment in the energy sector. These calculations were based upon: DECC (December 2013) Electricality Generation Costs). CCS is Carbon Capture and Storage. Image: Committee on Climate Change. The Committee’s latest report, titled ‘Power Sector Scenarios to the Fifth Carbon Budget’, outlines a variety of options for reducing Britain’s electricity emissions in 2030.. Findings of the Committee Assessing Britain’s commitments under the Climate Change Act and the need to ensure that the country’s electricity supply is competitive, affordable, secure, and safe, the Committee found: – The majority of investments in 2020 have already been made. They will reduce power sector carbon intensity by approximately 450 gCO2/kWh (grams of CO2-equivalent per kilowatt-hour) now to about 200-250 gCO2/kWh. To support the investment, households today pay approximately PS 45 per year on their electricity bills. This will rise to about PS 105 at the end of this decade to cover the total cost of their bill (which would be c. PS 500).). To replace coal and nuclear power and meet rising energy demands, new investments in the 2020s will be required. Low-carbon resources will be more cost-competitive with gas-fired new generation, which is currently facing a high carbon price in the 2020s. However, onshore wind power and solar energy are both at this stage. If they reach maturity, less mature options like offshore wind or carbon capture storage, will require continued support and investment. Both of these options are good investments for any nation that is committed to climate goals. The 2030, Committee considers that power emissions below 100 CO2/kWh is possible and achievable. “The range of scenarios examined suggest that power sector emissions towards the upper end of the carbon intensity range of 50-100 gCO2/kWh, previously identified as being suitable for 2030, are appropriate. The Committee stated that 55 MtCO2 emissions would be lower than if investments in the 2020s were purely focused on gas-fired generation. In the next ten years, low-carbon investments will result in higher bills. From about PS for 2020, to around PS 120 at peak in HTML3, the impact on household monthly bills will be about PS . Sources: DECC (2015) Energy trends; DECC (2015) Digest for UK Energy Statistics; CCC calculations. Image: Committee on Climate Change – It is crucial that the system be flexible to maintain electricity supply security at the lowest costs. A flexible and responsive electricity system, greater storage, better interconnection and more demand will increase security and decrease emissions. The Government should clarify its future energy policy. Lord Deben (Chair of the Committee on Climate Change) stated that the 2020s were crucial for setting the direction of UK power generation and to ensuring the UK is able to meet its 2050, climate change obligations cost effectively. There are key tools in place that can deliver low-carbon investment. October 2015. (PDF)

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