RenewableUK has urged all parties to maximise the generation of low-cost power from renewables and ensure that the sector expands rapidly into the 2020s and beyond.
It made the call on 13 November as it released its manifesto for the general election, The Tipping Point: Clean Power at Net Zero Scale, in which it stressed the need for a clear strategy to make sure the UK achieves its net zero target “quickly and cheaply”. To achieve this, RenewableUK set out a vision for rapid decarbonisation over the next decade, including that the next government should ramp up ambition for the expansion of offshore wind and set out a new strategy in support of onshore wind. It added that it should also have access to Contracts for Difference (CfD) auctions and that the planning system should be updated to ensure older turbines can be replaced with modern ones.
CfD auctions themselves should continue on a regular basis, it continued, stating that the next government should look to review the frequency and structure of the auctions to maximise deployment, along with encouraging investment in the supply chain.
Elsewhere, the manifesto called for the next government to support innovative renewables where the UK is a world leader, such as floating offshore wind and marine energy. Clear policies were stated as being needed for tidal stream and wave power to support their full commercialisation, while there should be support within the CfD mechanism for innovative technologies. RenewableUK further recommended Innovative Power Purchase Agreements with private companies should be encouraged to support new renewables.
The manifesto also made the case for there to be an overhaul of Ofgem’s remit. It explained that it did not currently factor in the binding net zero target, meaning that Ofgem is currently unable to encourage investment in a fully flexible, smart, clean energy system for the future. It cited the Targeted Charging Review as an example, warning it would reduce investment in renewables. By changing the regulator’s remit, RenewableUK said it would allow for new investment in infrastructure needed for net zero and grid charges could be structured in a way that promotes decarbonisation.
Luke Clark, Director of Strategic Communications at RenewableUK, said: “The next Government has to put in place clear plans to put us on track to meet our climate targets. You can’t be credible on net zero if you’re not serious about onshore wind – we need to use every technology at our disposal to deliver the energy transition that voters are demanding.”