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UK Energy Policy for the 2020’s: Stricter Targets & Regulations Needed

Lee McGhie, Director of Sustainability Services EMEA Energy & Sustainability Services, attended a conference organised by the British Institute of Energy Economics (BIEE) on the UK Energy Policy and returned with some takeaways.

The BIEE aims “to encourage the exchange of ideas and information between energy professionals from different disciplines and sectors of the industry and to promote a responsible, evidence based approach to the challenges of energy policy and tackling climate change”.

This conference brought together experts from energy industry, the financial sector, the policy community and academia to explore the actions required and consider the way forward for UK energy policy.utility green power

UK Carbon reduction targets need to be stronger to meet 2050 goals

The UK government committed to the Climate Change Act (CCA), to reduce emissions by at least 80% of 1990 levels by 2050 to limit the increase in global average warming to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. To meet these targets, the government has set five-yearly carbon budgets which currently run until 2032. The UK is currently in the second carbon budget period (2013 to 2017).

All main political parties within the UK are unified in achieving carbon reduction goals and agree that targets within the UK need to be stronger, since current policies will only deliver half the required emissions cuts. The UK met their 1st (2008-12) and 2nd (2013-17) Carbon Budget and are on track to meet the 3rd (2018-22). However, the country is not on track to meet the 4th (2023-27) and 5th (2028-32) carbon budget.

Transport and Domestic emission’s will be hit hardest

  • In the wake of England stating that they will ban the sale of new diesel & petrol cars by 2040, Scotland have gone one better and said that they will do the same, but by 2032.
  • Companies that have large fleets of delivery vans and cars will be impacted
  • Domestic Emissions – The building trade have built to standards and regulations that tick the minimum standards box when building new homes, resulting in the owners powering & heating homes via traditional methods and energy sources.
  • The government believe the building sector should take more responsibility and accountability, building homes to greater standards and ensuring all new homes are as close to passive as possible
  • The gas grid will be impacted by stronger calls for low carbon energy – Heating will come under the microscope as the dependency on natural gas needs to change.
  • There are tests being undertaken in Leeds with hydrogen as a replacement fuel, the government are monitoring the outcome.

Changes are coming to the UK Market as the government aims to meet stated goals, with likely big impacts to the building, transport and gas sectors.

Contributed by Lee McGhie
Director of Sustainability Services EMEA Energy & Sustainability Services

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