A low-carbon electricity supply is the most cost-effective way to meet the need for more generation in the 2020s and meet climate change commitments, according to a new report.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which advises the UK Government on global warming issues, has published a report which sets out a range of future options to reduce the UK’s emissions from electricity in 2030.

The new power sector scenarios seek to balance issues of affordability, security of supply and decarbonisation. They indicate different ways, rather than one prescriptive path, through which this balance can be achieved consistent with UK climate change targets.

2020s ‘crucial decade’

The fifth carbon budget will set the maximum level of domestic emissions between 2028 and 2032, and marks the half-way point from the first budget period (2008-2012).

The UK’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% in 2050 remains in line with the international commitment to 2°C, the CCC said but added the UK must also agree reductions to 2030 as part of its “fifth carbon budget”.

Lord Deben, Chair of the Committee on Climate Change, said: “The 2020s are crucial in setting the direction for UK power generation, and to ensure the UK can meet its 2050 climate change commitments cost-effectively.

“The key tools are already in place to deliver the investment in low-carbon generation that is required. The Government must now urgently clarify the direction of future policy to ensure the power sector can decarbonise at lowest cost to businesses and households.

> Download the report