REA sets out green pathway for drive to net zero

The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) has unveiled a pathway for a green recovery, accelerating the net zero transition while creating thousands of jobs.

The Strategy for Renewable Energy and Clean Technologies, published on 23 February, sets a series of key targets, including more than 50% of electricity generation being provided from renewables by the end of 2022, rising to 100% by 2032, and the majority of energy demand for heat and transport being met by renewables and clean technologies by 2035. It also targets all bio-waste being separated and recycled at source, or collected separately, by the end of 2023. According to the REA, the strategy could see 200,000 new jobs created in the renewable energy and clean technology sector by 2035.

The early 2020s were highlighted as being critical for renewables, with the majority of the possible transition from fossil-based fuels and materials to renewables or circular solutions having to happen early in the decade. A mix of technologies is considered essential, given the scale of the decarbonisation challenge, with bioenergy, energy from waste, solar PV, wind, electric vehicles, demand side response, hydrogen sectors and more all cited as having a role to play.

However, a number of barriers still need to be overcome, particularly the need for a clear route to market across heat, power, flexibility technologies and transport fuels. The closure of the RHI for heat projects, an inadequate CfD scheme for many power technologies, the fact there are no holistic flexibility markets and a lack of ambition in the RTFO for transport fuels are all reasons why there is currently a lack of a clear route to market.

It further stressed the need for the sector to continue to have sustainability at its heart; for best practice guidance and standardisations across technologies to be developed and applied; and the need for a clear focus on quality of inputs and ensuring plastics and other unwanted materials do not enter feedstock in the first place, if organics are to play their part in a circular economy.