Low carbon investment will help the UK meet climate change targets

UK government urged to invest in low carbon power

Britain should invest in low-carbon power generation to ensure electricity needs can be met once coal and nuclear plants close in the 2020’s according to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

It recommended that the government should back green energy as a way to reduce carbon emissions in the sector and help the UK meet legally-binding climate change targets.

The country is currently committed to cutting its emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

A report from the committee said supporting low-carbon power is estimated to add around £105 on the average consumer electricity bill in 2020 and £120 by 2030, although costs will subsequently fall.

Lord Deben, the chairman of the committee, 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."

The government has faced criticism for its cuts to renewable subsidies over the summer, with the solar sector particularly hard hit.

In September, the CCC said new green policies needed to be introduced to replace those that were cut.

The Solar Trade Association recently called for a £1 subsidy on energy bills in order to support solar and save thousands of jobs.

The report argues that although less mature forms of low-carbon power generation, including offshore wind and carbon capture, would need continued support in the 2020s to reach maturity, they represent "good value investments for a society committed to climate targets”.

It also notes that renewables are a good way to protect Britain from potential rises in the price of oil or gas in the next decade.

Friends of the Earth campaigner Simon Bullock said: "The Government's own advisers say it will be cheaper to use low-carbon electricity rather than gas to power our economy in the 2020s.

"Ministers should be championing the UK renewable sector, instead of strangling the life out of solar and on-shore wind, threatening tens of thousands of jobs and pushing up bills in the future.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said the government wanted to move towards a low-carbon economy while ensuring consumers and businesses had secure, affordable energy for this and future generations.

"We are well on our way to meeting our carbon reduction targets, and we are now carefully considering the right framework for reducing emissions in the 2020s," she added.

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