The UK needs to be powered by 50% renewable energy by 2030 to be on a cost-effective path to hit net zero by 2050, according to a report.
The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), which advises the Government, said a renewables-dominated power system, combined with technologies including hydrogen powered generation and carbon capture and storage, could prove significantly cheaper than one which depended on a fleet of nuclear power plants.
“A renewables-based system looks like a safer bet at present than constructing multiple new nuclear plants,” the report said.
The report notes the cost reductions achieved in bringing renewable technologies on stream over the past ten years, while costs of building and running nuclear power stations have not fallen consistently, even in countries that have built fleets of similar designed reactors.
Industry body RenewableUK welcomed the report with Director of Future Electricity Systems Barnaby Wharton saying it highlights the central role that low-cost wind will play in the UK's clean energy system as well as the importance of developing new technologies like renewable hydrogen, wave and tidal power. “The NIC is right to urge the government to continue with the positive progress they've made so far and to be ambitious in its vision to reach net zero emissions using a wide range of clean sources,” he said.