Britain should aim for renewables to provide two-thirds of electricity by 2030

The falling cost of renewables has strengthened the case for accelerating their deployment, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has said.

Publishing research on 11 August, the NIC announced it had updated its recommended renewables deployment target from 50% to 65% by 2030, stating that the UK can make significant progress towards its net zero goal if the right steps are taken. It explained that sharp falls in cost mean such a level of deployment can be achieved at the same overall cost as meeting only half of total demand by that date.

Shifts in government policy to support more renewable electricity schemes would support a green recovery and encourage private investment to drive innovation. It would also provide confidence to the economy at a crucial time, the Commission added. Recent commitments were welcomed, such as 40GW of offshore wind by 2030, with the NIC recommending a refreshed pipeline of contracts for different auctions to accelerate more offshore wind, onshore wind and solar power projects.

While renewables will play a key role, the NIC warned that, that alone, would not be enough for a resilient energy system for future decades. Further work on storage technologies, efficient interconnectors and other innovations will all be needed to support them, with an increased role for low carbon hydrogen generation cited as a possibility.