Last Friday, the UK achieved a first since industrial times – providing power to the nation without any coal generation for a full two weeks.
This has been helped by the warmer weather, as well as the growing volume of renewable energy.
Indeed, last year, renewable generation met a third of the UK’s power requirements – with a larger share expected this year.
But according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), this needs to more than double if we are to meet global emissions reduction targets.
Global renewables could hit 86% by 2050
In a recent report, IRENA claims 86% of the world’s energy demand could be met by clean energy by 2050.
Currently, global renewable power capacity accounts for around a third.
Certainly, in the UK, our share of renewables is steadily increasing. For example, in the last quarter of 2018, it was up 7% on the previous quarter, accounting for 37.1% of total energy generation for the October to December period.
But IRENA says more action is required to accelerate progress.
More collaboration required
Specifically, stronger, consistent policy messages combined with greater collaboration to up-scale renewables and electrify major energy-consuming sectors such as transport and heat.
Implementing energy efficiency measures is also seen as key to cutting emissions.
IRENA’s recommendations reflect those contained in the recent report from the Committee on Climate Change, which called for the government to step up action to meet a net-zero emissions target by 2050.
Zero carbon operation by 2025
Already, the UK’s Electricity System Operator (ESO) is gearing up for a transition to zero carbon operation by 2025.
According to Fintan Slye, Director of ESO: “Zero carbon operation of the electricity system by 2025 means a fundamental change to how our system was designed to operate.”
To bring about this change, ESO is focussing on: “Integrating newer technologies right across the system – from large-scale offshore wind to domestic scale solar panels – and increasing demand-side participation, using new smart digital systems to manage and control the system in real-time.”
Once complete, this transition is seen as a major stepping stone to full decarbonisation of the electricity system, as soon as sufficient clean-energy becomes available.
To understand how your organisation can better support these goals – and take advantage of emerging opportunities to cut energy costs – talk to our experts at Energy HQ. You can email them via EnergyHQ@npower.com or call 0800 193 6866.