A massive expansion in offshore wind, a switch to electric vehicles and steps to halve household energy demand could help the UK cut emissions to zero by 2030, a report has claimed.
The report from the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) said the country could be “zero-carbon” by the end of the next decade, while still keeping the lights on and not relying on nuclear power.
The study said energy demand in buildings could be halved through a number of steps including improving insulation, cutting draughts and improvements in the efficiency of heating technology.
It called for “whole house” refurbishments to improve energy efficiency and new houses to be built from natural materials such as wood and straw to lock in carbon, as part of efforts to cut overall emissions.
The report said there should be a switch to electric vehicles, which would generate 50% less carbon dioxide than petrol or diesel cars under the current energy mix in which electricity is generated from fossil fuels.
As the grid is “decarbonised”, electrical vehicles will be greener still, and although they will raise demand for electricity, “smart charging” - in which they are charged up overnight when power demand is low - will limit the extra pressure on the grid.
Domestic flights would be replaced with bus or rail travel, with fewer journeys taken overall.
Better town planning would be needed to minimise the distances people need to go and maximise the opportunities for walking, cycling and public transport.
A CAT spokeperson said: “Zero Carbon Britain 2030 shows how with the right mix of wind power, hydro, solar, biomass - plus an intelligent grid to manage demand - we can ‘keep the lights on’ and supply the energy the country needs - with major win-wins across the economy.”