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ICE calls for long term energy strategy to 2030

Start planning for a decarbonised 2030 says new ICE report on energy policy.

Power plant

Energy: More strategic planning is needed before decarbonisation can be achieved

Policymakers must start planning for Britain’s energy needs in 2030 says an ICE paper published this week.

It was produced as ministers prepare to publish the government’s Energy Bill which is intended to address energy needs up until 2020.

The paper warns that even more ambitious action will be required during the 2020s if Britain is to decarbonise electricity production by 2030.

The paper, Post 2020 energy scenarios and pathways to 2030, says this action must be planned to take place.

The ICE says the policy framework to drive action up to 2020 is well advanced - most notably through the Electricity Market Reform.

“We know the UK’s energy system in 2030 needs to look very different to today’s and there are already a number of scenarios which sketch out how a successfully decarbonised energy system could look in 2030,” said ICE past president, Richard Coackley.

“But none of these visions can become reality without a policy framework that enables action not only in the 2010s but in the 2020s. The Commons Climate Change Committee itself highlights the need for a ‘significantly faster pace of progress’ through the 2020s but this cannot happen unaided,” he said.

“To maximise the chances of a decarbonised 2030, the existing scenarios must be explored in more detail taking into consideration political, economic,environmental, social, legal and technological factors.

“This will allow major challenges to be identified followed by the formation of the next wave of policy that will facilitate the accelerated progress required.”

The ICE says policymakers will face several challenges when plotting a policy pathway to 2030 - many of these relating to political will, policy certainty and public
attitudes, which are critical factors in the transition to a low carbon society.

It urges the government to ensure future electricity policy:

  • Commits to a target to almost completely decarbonise electricity by 2030 - a binding target will help provide certainty and confidence for investors and industry
  • Dispels the notion that the answer is gas, or nuclear, or renewables - all are required in large measures
  • Provides more clarity on how investors can be protected from future political and policy risk
  • Redoubles efforts to demonstrate and deploy carbon, capture and storage (CCS) and develops energy storage technologies - both of which could prove to be global game changers
  • Acknowledges the implications of the additional significant heat and vehicle demands on the electricity system and develops a clear strategy to manage it
    In addition the ICE says policy towards heating should:
  • Accelerate demand reduction through better insulation and controls
  • Ensure uptake of renewable heat continues to be pursued through regulation, cost reduction and better installation standards

The ICE paper also points out that transport policy should ensure energy is a priority for any transport strategy. In transport - unlike in electricity and heat - emissions have not been reduced and there are difficult questions about demand reduction and management, modal shift and public attitudes. The UK transport
strategy must be integrated with energy a top priority.

Coackley concluded: “In the next 12 months, political thought will increasingly turn towards party manifestos.

“As emission reduction targets demand changes in heat and transport, they will also demand changes in the habits and behaviour of consumers. This presents
an opportunity for considered, practical policy solutions that will help the UK reach its long term energy goals.”

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