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Call for new low carbon generation

Younity blog | Apr 2021

Hydro power

UK government commits to 78% emissions reductions by 2035

Younity are excited to see that the government has taken the recommendations of the independent Climate Change Committee (CCC) Sixth Carbon Budget on board and have confirmed a statutory target to cut UK territorial emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels, expected to become enshrined in law by the end of June 2021.

Paris Agreement

This ground-breaking target brings forward the UK’s previous 80% target, by nearly 15 years and this pathway meets the Paris Agreement stipulation of ‘highest possible ambition’[1]. The Paris agreement outlines voluntary and nationally determined targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with the target being to keep the global temperature rise below 2°C above pre-industrial temperature levels. Since preindustrial times, there has been a ~1.0°C increase in average temperatures globally, which has already harmed the planet’s ecosystems[2], therefore strong decisive action is crucial.

There is no doubt that reaching this target will bring amount numerous challenges, but the opportunities will be vast and ultimately it means the UK is serious about reaching net zero and fighting the devasting effects of climate change. This shift in objectives is essential to meet the demands of the Paris Agreement.

Cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 a big commitment, and one that would see the UK lead the way globally. Including shipping and aviation within this statutory target is a game changer, together these sectors accounted for 10% of UK emissions in 2018[3], therefore including these huge industries should have real genuine impact on the UK meeting climate goals.

What does this mean at the local level?

For these tough but achievable targets to be met, government, industry, communities and individuals all have a crucial role to play. Community energy is a key pillar as the UK looks to decarbonise the energy system - decentralisation can provide innovation and flexibility at a local level that is desperately needed.

A key recommendation from the CCC’s Sixth Carbon Budget is for UK electricity production to be zero carbon by 2035[4]. Emissions from electricity generation have already fallen by 68% since 1990, however, this has been primarily from switching from coal fired power stations to gas and low carbon alternatives[5].

400 TWh of new low-carbon generation required by 2035

Reducing power emissions further will heavily involve increasing the role of renewables, according to the CCC’s Sixth Carbon Budget, the Balanced Pathway requires around an additional 400 TWh of new low-carbon generation in order to meet demand by 2035[6]. This of course will include large scale generation, but also community backed embedded generation growth is vital in contributing to the new low-carbon generation crucially needed in the UK.

Community energy support

Energy UK said: “The government now needs to urgently focus on polices that can enable our industry to invest and help deliver on these pledges – by increasing still further the amount of low carbon generation, cutting emissions from housing and transport and by creating a modern, flexible energy system.”

The UK committing to the new emission reduction targets should enable and support community energy groups to continue to grow, as new renewable generation is urgently required. We just need to ensure that the long-term vision is supported by present day action.

If you would like to get involved and help drive forward the green community revolution, please get in touch: