Government “asleep at the wheel” on electricity decarbonisation – new report

The government was urged today to speed up the shift to decarbonised electricity, after it was accused of being “asleep at the wheel”.

Copyright 2020 Yottanesia – Released for use Under CC-By-SA-4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

A report by the Climate Change Committee, which advises ministers, said the government did not have “a coherent strategy” for achieving its goal of decarbonising the electricity supply by 2035.

It had also failed to give details of how it would encourage investment and infrastructure over the next 12 years.

A decarbonised power system is critical to achieving the government’s legally-binding target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Lord Deben, chair of the Climate Change Committee (CCC), said the war in Ukraine had illustrated the importance of energy security and a reliable energy system, based on renewable resources. He said:

“We know how to do this, but Government is asleep at the wheel.

“Recent commitments for new nuclear and renewables are welcome, but these alone are insufficient.

“A rapid overhaul of the planning system and regulations is needed. It is not clear where the responsibility lies for the design and operations of our modern energy system rests among key organisations.

“Countries around the world are now racing for this goal. The UK is further ahead than most, but we risk losing our early lead at the worst possible time.”

Since 2010, emissions from electricity generation have fallen 69%. The CCC said cheap, decarbonised electricity for all consumers and businesses was now within reach.

But it said actions were needed in a wide range of areas. Some were in train and on track. Others needed to be accelerated. Barriers must be removed to the quick deployment of infrastructure.

The CCC said:

“Delivery and deployment of infrastructure must be achieved at a much greater pace than the present regulatory, planning and consenting regimes can achieve.”

It said there were gaps in the current set of actions. Roles and responsibilities in delivering the system also needed clarification.

The CCC’s report said access to reliable, resilient and plentiful decarbonised electricity, at an affordable price, would reduce the UK’s dependence on imported oil and gas.

The consequent dramatic reduction in gas consumption would, it said, cut our exposure to volatile international fossil fuel markets, with greater reliance on homegrown low-cost renewables.

Electricity decarbonisation would also allow full decarbonisation of other sectors, such as transport, industry and heat, the CCC said.

The report makes 25 recommendations for meeting the 2035 target. These include:

  • Ensure new gas plants are ready for carbon capture and storage or hydrogen by 2025 at the latest
  • Plan future system designs to cope with climate hazards
  • Identify strategic investments needed for a decarbonised electricity supply
  • Launch the next selection process for carbon capture and storage projects as soon as possible

The proposals assumed a 50% increase in demand for electricity by 2035 and could cope with a prolonged periods of low wind speed and high electricity.

A “small amount” of unabated fossil gas capacity in 2035 was compatible with a decarbonised power system, the CCC said. This would be used occasionally to balance the system and ensure security of supply, it said.

But the CCC said using hydrogen in place of efficient electrification would be a much less efficient use of domestic energy resources, leading to a greater need for imported energy.


Friends of the Earth’s head of policy, Mike Childs, said:

“This is a damning assessment of government progress on building a secure, homegrown and green energy system.

“Ministers must up their game if the UK is to deliver on legally binding carbon reduction targets and provide householders and businesses with clean, affordable energy.

“They should start by rapidly removing the barriers to onshore wind, cranking-up the development of offshore wind and reforming the unfair windfall tax on renewable energy companies which will drive investors overseas.“

  • The report, Delivering a reliable decarbonised power system, is on the CCC website.

26 replies »

  1. No, the windfall tax on renewables is not unfair, FOE. If renewables can’t walk the walk, don’t talk the talk. Do renewables actually require fossil fuels to provide them even more of a crutch? If so, what is left for the consumer when that crutch is removed? Oh yes, much higher energy bills.
    If renewables don’t pay a windfall tax currently, then they should simply have the extra windfall profits removed within their prices and that passed on to the consumer.
    Energy provision is not a game for vested parties to play out, it is for the consumer to be given an honest assessment of what they are expected to pay and for them to be able to make a choice. New nuclear to be accelerated-I agree that is required. Shouldn’t still be, but the same idiots were in charge that are now in charge. Where is the money coming from, what else will need to be cut back as result, how much will it add to the average household bill (nuclear is the most expensive form of electricity generation, well, maybe with the exception of the Swansea Lagoon) and where and how will the waste be disposed of?? FOE, CCC and all the rest can pontificate and “earn” their salaries for many years to come, but how about the consumer being given real information? Could add to that, what will replace fuel duty? That should have been at the beginning of the queue, but still zilch.

    The biggest kick up the backside Net Zero could be given is to accelerate hydrogen supply and use, but the whole thing is bogged down in what colour it is! Get real, get it moving and the “nice to have” can follow, probably around 2060 when the new nuclear might have arrived.
    Meanwhile, when the wind doesn’t blow it still doesn’t blow whether there is 1 turbine or 100,000 of them.

    Trust the coal fired power stations rushed back into use are keeping your lights glowing.

  2. Can we wonder at the incoherence of government strategy when the prophet of capitalist profit and incoherence cavils at the idea that the developers of renewables should, by encumbering them with a windfall tax, be denied the profit motive which oil and gas enjoyed and which is used for further development, (as well of course as indefensible and obscene personal over-enrichment resulting from greed)? It is the latter greed which must be controlled, not the ability to fund future development. Of course renewables, an urgent national and planetary need, must be preferred in this manner, and the preferment of FFs curtailed.

  3. No, 1720, that is your opinion.

    Renewables have had shed loads of money-tax payers money-to get them where they are, yet the approach is still that they need shed loads of money! That looks very much like greed, to me-although I could type “everyone”- if I was unsure of myself! The examples are there for all to see, such as Cash for Ash. If that was not greed, please tell me what it was.

    Used for further development? You mean the bit that is left after the windfall tax which is being returned at this very moment to UK energy users. The windfall large bit that will not fund renewables as it is having to cover for the inability of the “cheap” renewables to keep energy prices down. If that is not irony, what is? Yet, in countries where they have developed fossil fuel, what is the picture? Much lower energy bills and inflation much lower than UK. They can even afford???? to spend $369B on IRA. Perhaps take the £6B subsidy away from Drax-yes, another renewable subsidy-and redirect it? Drax that has just reported an 84% earning hike.

    Obscene personal over enrichment? You mean like Mr.Musk who has been enriched by the subsidies for renewables? Oops, you might need to do quite a lot of arithmetic to sort that one out. Whilst doing so, perhaps build in how he might be able to fund slashing prices to get his product shifted?! Can’t see he is too unhappy yet some of his shareholders have recently shown their displeasure about the first bit at what, they claimed, was at their expense. Another subsidy?

    Tell you what, 1720, you pay for your opinion and your own virtue signaling. It is not working. At what point do “we” admit it is not working and doing more of what is not working will not make it work? Walk the walk, the talk is just that. Others have very quietly had to admit it is not working and that it will require £200B more shed loads to fill one of the gaps, and £54B more shed loads to fill another gap. You whinge about HS2, wait until the environmental impact of those two are there in the open. “We” should all start making sheds, there is obscene personal over enrichment waiting to be had. Started with the landowners who would not have a wind turbine on their land until the bribe was too good to resist. Hey presto, they were suddenly Green and greed didn’t come into it, whilst the reality was they had always been green which is why they didn’t want them until the bribe became too large to resist, then they could cover their greed by a blanket of Green! Even my washing machine would fail to spin that much. A lot more to come yet and a lot more expensive wrong turns to sweep under carpets. The one thing that will remain though 1720, is obscene personal over enrichment, just redirected. Net Zero is like a rotting corpse to the flies in that respect. I would rather I funded less of it that didn’t work and needed to deny arithmetic and physics to even claim it would. Where is the apology to the expert who stated years ago what was needed regarding new nuclear? After your denial, using some sort of tea leaf reading, the reality is very quietly admitted. Where is the outcry about how could those responsible be so irresponsible? I go with the reality, let “us” have more of it.

    Wonder how much of that obscene personal over enrichment will accrue out of £200B, and where it will go?

  4. Let me help you understand, Jack, it isn’t when you add the cost of back-up. Without that back-up it is useless on a calm day. Not cheap if nothing is produced. Assets sitting there, £billions spent on them, doing nothing.

    A cheap car is not cheap if the insurance cost is huge. Most parents are well aware of that, they don’t need your sort of “education”.

    The new nuclear was first going to cost £160B, it has now risen to £200B. It will be late and even more expensive-it always is. Come on Jack, why wasn’t it even in the small print? It was as obvious as the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine, so where was the cost-until recently? Too many were even denying it would be required to put a cost to it. You are too late, Jack, that cat is out of the bag. Wasn’t that you Jack a few days ago trying to present the fiction that UK residents were unwilling to support £3-£4B a year to Ukraine, yet you think they will ignore £200B. Not only deluded but on the wrong side of history.

    The ecoexperts can try and pull wool over eyes, yours are easily fooled. The eyes that see their energy bills in UK compared to energy bills with plentiful fossil fuel know the difference. You are still trying to argue that $7 is a desperate thing, compared to $47. Previously, you were trying to argue there wasn’t any difference. You and facts are as far apart as anything could be, but that has been your choice, now live with it. I will not bother to produce your full history of that, it is long and has been noted by anyone who can read.

    Renewables such as wind and solar are a nice to have addition in the UK, but UK climate is going to stop them being the answer. A part yes, but nowhere near what nuclear will be or as reliable. Maybe fusion, but that has been the hope for a very long time. Unfortunately, the insurance policy is very expensive for nuclear. Unfortunately, it is hardly green, unless a lot of previous considerations are simply plonked under the carpet where many others inconveniences have been plonked. You are like the Emperor worrying about his hat, when the rest of him is exposed.

    I can calculate whether energy bills will be cheaper with a lot more generation from very expensive nuclear based on todays prices, and it is not cheap. By the time it is here, I will not be but my children may be and grandchildren will be, yet the antis claim they are campaigning on behalf of these people. Good job the campaigners won’t be around either to hear their voices when they see what has been done for/to them.

    • MARTIN ,

      Please, PLEASE read and understand the link .

      When it comes to countries looking at scraping the bottom of the fossil fuel barrel with the highly toxic, dangerous to human and animal health, environmentally damaging, climate changing , highly expensive process otherwise known as FRACKING ….. You know that all the low hanging fruit , easy to get oil and gas has gone . The end of cheap oil and gas is OVER .

      Just look at the graphs , the cost of renewables is dropping year on year .,solar%20energy%20a%20decade%20ago.

      Even the major Oil and Gas companies are seeing the writing on the wall , which is why they are diversifying their investments in to renewables and ” good on them ” ……. They can see its good for their public profile , good for their shareholders and good for their profit margins.

      Why can’t you understand these basic facts .

      Now MARTIN , how many times do we need to keep going over the $7 and $47 gas prices ??????? ( Give me strength )

      If you are going to say something , back it up with “evidence ” and explain to the readers exactly what you are trying to base that figure on , or would you prefer JACK to cut and paste what you said last time ??????

      If you do, I hope we can then finally put this matter to bed

  5. The matter was put to bed Jack. The evidence was provided, the source was provided-several times-and you still have to rely on the nonsense that you were having problems with myopia! Get someone else to read it to you Jack. That inability to read has worn thin. You can squirm away but all been discussed and the data was supplied and was real, as was the data regarding the price difference more recently. It is there Jack, under your carpet. It was seen, it was seen that you plonked it there-all you have to do is retrieve it.

    Cheap oil and gas? Jack, you stated that oil and gas companies are making a “fortune” at current prices! You contradict yourself so many times

    [Edited by moderator]

    What are the oil price forecasts for the end of this year? Oh yes, back above $100-and they are usually correct. Gas? Well, even in USA they have decided that the price is enough to encourage them to use what they wasted, and they have a lot to waste, but are putting in some more pipelines. More “fortunes” to be made there. Sand even. Dish washing even. Truck driving even. Diners even. PTA’s even, and on and on. Goodness, so much fruit to go around.

    Anyone will invest if they think that huge subsidies are there for the taking, Jack, yet you seem to have missed the bit that some have noted the writing on the other wall, and have decided that is the one where “fortunes” are to be made, and are investing accordingly. I suspect your previous posting was not the reason, though.
    Getting someone to invest in the insurance policy-the new nuclear-might be a bit more challenging. Probably will need a lot of that mythical Government money ie. the tax payers, who will not continue to believe cheap when that is required.

    • MARTIN ,

      You forget, you NEVER provide a shred of evidence , EVER . All your posts show testament to that fact .

      If I remember correctly , it was JOHN HARRISON who put forward the explanation on the matter .

      You trying to ” hoodwink ” the readers with headline grabbing figures without providing an explanation or a single shred of evidence sets a dangerous precedent in the information war ..

      The readers MUST take what you say with a pinch of salt .

      • YES MARTIN ,

        Oil and Gas companies are making an absolute fortune , favorable tax breaks , a war in Ukraine and free reiign to well and truly shaft the ordinary citizens on prices , it’s a golden ticket for them .

        On the plus side , oil and gas companies are increasingly investing in renewables , as that’s where the real money in the very near future will be , so not all’s bad .

  6. Nope Jack, wrong again. However, as you are so interested in verified data, please explain how and where you sourced your recent suggestion [edited by moderator] that the UK population was against supporting Ukraine with military assistance? There is no such data, apart from what the Kremlin might issue. You then try and wriggle by stating that you knew my data had been verified by another poster. If you already knew that why try and fabricate it wasn’t authentic? It really is the same mechanism used from the Kremlin. Fabricate and fabricate and when found out just fabricate some more.

    Pinch of salt, Jack the Vlad? Ahh, from one day the low hanging fruit has gone-total fabrication-and later on during the same day making an absolute fortune! (Do some research on Venezuela before you make up stories about low hanging fruit to avoid looking ignorant). Yet, the data exists Jack for how much oil has been extracted from places like the Permian and how much is left. I have supplied it in the past. I supplied you with the reference-guess what, you couldn’t source it! Surprise surprise and even there, new techniques are now being used such as repeat fracking of the same wells which actually significantly reduce costs.

    What have you left? Ah, the ordinary citizen is being shafted on price. Except, Jack, the oil price is lower than it was before fracking got going in USA! US fracking has actually reduced the world oil price, even with impacts such as the war in Ukraine. It would be very extraordinary if it had not, as the world’s largest importer turned into the largest exporter. You want an even lower price? Wash your keyboard off, Jack, the way to get that is to increase production. Alternatively, for a quick fix, just reduce taxation upon fossil fuel, such as £20-£30B per year fuel duty in UK!

    The BBC do the propaganda in a similar way. I noted last night what was supposed to be a report on the salary of the last CEO of Shell. Started off with his salary package being stated as £billions instead of £millions ( confusion there with Mr. Musk-how ironic) and having excited the viewer in that way, proceeded onto windfall tax trying to make out the tax rate was 35% instead of 75%, (40% plus 35% is 75%) then slipped out that £6B had been given out last quarter in dividends ignoring that was taxable income, then the required activist stating how many nurses could be funded via his remuneration! Somewhere, hidden amongst all that was a very small sentence that Shell made a small part of it’s profits in UK, ie. it was not required to pay much UK tax, windfall or not. Sorry, activist, that is how nurses are paid, from high taxation on incomes and high taxed spending. If there is an International Company based in UK but not earning much as a company in UK, doing most of that elsewhere, then to fund more UK nurses you need the staff employed in the UK to pay a lot of tax, from high salary packages! Mind you, to get even that tax kept in the UK, then don’t kill the Golden Goose, because set the tax rates too high and the headquarters will be moved to somewhere else and no UK nurses salaries will be funded.
    The real news about that story was/were pretty simple to portray. It was designated as a News item. So, where was the News?

    Sorry Jack, you are outbid. Shafted on price? TV licence fee has won.

    • MARTIN ,

      Ladies and Gentlemen, the above is a classic example of MARTINS , Wild-Off-The-Cuff gibberish in all its glory .. Making wild comments about things I had ” supposedly ” said , rambling on ,OFF TOPIC and throughout this epic tale , not supplying one ” single shred of evidence ” to back up his/her comments..

      FEAST your eyes ladies and gentlemen , this is pure , 24 carat COLLYWAFFLE and must only be digested as his/her OPINION only .

      MARTIN , fossil fuels are highly expensive , far more expensive , long term than renewables.

      Today’s lesson , fossil fuel SUBSIDIES and TAX BREAKS.,latest%20figures%20from%20the%20OECD.

      WORLDWIDE , subsidies for the ” fossil fuels ” in the year 2020 were estimated to be US $ 5.9 TRILLION.,of%20producing%20fossil%20fuels%3B%20and

      • There you go ladies and gentlemen, you are now declared as being unable to read what has been put on this platform-by the same “person” who has put the what on the platform.

        [Edited by moderator]

        “Long term” now! Really? Desperate stuff, in other words “we” will not be around to see it, “we” will just have to accept it may be the case, oh and by the way “we” forgot to mention another £200B to fund very expensive energy generation along that pathway. Long term “we” were all going to benefit from switching to diesel cars. Long term “we” were not required to fund new nuclear. Long term “we” would benefit from cereals being processed for fuel. Try something Jack that has not already been tried-and failed spectacularly. Mystic Meg died, her death was announced in UK yesterday, Jack. Nice of you to volunteer but your track record would indicate the tea leaves are not working for you.

        (You have made your 2020 mistake again Jack. It was not a “normal” year. Many industries and many individuals were subsidized in 2020. Guess what-the critical industries received a big slice, others not so much. Now, in some countries, they are expected to return some of it. Not perhaps the point you should have brought into focus as to what was defined as critical.)

        • P.S. for those readers in UK who also saw UK “News”, you may also have seen the “breakthrough” reported in carbon capture from the air reported! So, if that is successful, fossil fuels will be part of the mix for a very long time!

          Deal with fossil fuel emissions and there is no issue. Would also deal with the emissions which have been occurring from many other sources for a very long time. Has been stated previously by those who know a lot better that I do. Now, to get the technology working.

          Tell you what though, I would put my money on what may be long term and what may not be such a long term. My pension remains where it is.

          • MARTIN ,

            There’s so much diversionary, OFF TOPIC Collywaffle, you”ll have to excuse JACK if he’s a bit slow of the mark working through it all.

            Above you said , quote , ” please explain how and where you sourced your recent suggestion [edited by moderator] that the UK population was against supporting Ukraine with military assistance? ”

            For the readers, here’s ” EXACTLY ” IWHAT I SAID on the matter, DOD , 24th February 2023 .

            ” Your usual Collywaffle regarding the Russian and Ukraine War stands as a testament and ” warning ” to others as to how dangerous people like yourself with a light grasp on the situation can be .

            With 7 MILLION , yes I did say 7 MILLION UK citizens waiting for treatment and NHS staff striking for a wage increase that keeps up with rampant inflation . People in pain because they can’t find an NHS dentist . Cancer patients waiting MONTHS for tests. ”

            I think you will find that the people of the UK would prefer to see the £2.6 BILLION last year and the same this year given in military aid to Ukraine this year , spent on treatment for their loved ones here in the UK .

            To imply that people who question the great waste of money on endless stream of wars around the world , are in some way on this occasion , quote ” Putin apologist ” without putting any meat on the bone to support their argument , shows of a person who is lacking in knowledge on the subject, who’s priorities are not here in the UK , supporting the wellbeing of UK citizens .”

            I THEN went on to say in my next post on DOD , 24th February 2023 ,

            ” The Russia – Ukraine War may suit “YOU” as you desperately cling on to the hope and dream , that Oil and Gas shortages may resurect the highly toxic , climate changing, environmentally damaging process otherwise known as Fracking in the UK , but sadly old chap/old lady, it’s not going to happen. ”

            MARTIN , I do hope you are in a position to understand the words I said , if not JACK will be happy to explain.

  7. MARTIN ,

    You can Collywaffle on championing the fossil fuel vehicle, but I’m sorry to say actions speak louder than words and the actions are ” ALL ” the world leading vehicle manufacturers are moving AWAY from Fossil Fuel powered vehicles . As battery storage technology advances, it will hasten the move away from the combustion engine.

    HAPPY DAYS 😊 , take a look at this breaking news ( February 2023 ) …………….. New EV battery offers 50% more density than traditional lithium-ion batteries

    • Ermm, yes, because they are being forced by Governments to do so!

      Guess what though Jack-they are looking to move that production to where energy costs are low-like the USA.

      • MARTIN ,

        You say , quote , ” Ermm, yes, because they are being forced by Governments to do so! ”


        You need to learn the A , B , C of Nursery School , marketing skills.

        Vehicle manufacturers give the public what they want and what they want is Electric Vehicles ( EV )

        Just like the VHS recorder , at first they were astronomically expensive and not everyone could afford to own one , as time went by the cost dropped to peanuts …. As the cost drops , every man and his dog will have an electric car , truck or bus .

        Why you may ask , well thats a simple one to answer , traveling A – B in an EV costs pennies , whereas in a fossil fuel vehicle its £ s .

        Also people like the idea of breathing clean fresh air and reducing their risk of gettimg Cancer and Asthma . They also like the idea of passing on a world that’s habitable for their children

  8. MARTIN ,

    I accept that the extraction and burning of Fossil Fuels is only one part of the puzzle when it comes to climate change , but it’s a very big part of the puzzle.

    If you want to see the data from NASA , on the rampant global temperature rise and the problems it’s causing , then here you are .

    I suppose you’ll have an OPINION as to why they’re wrong …… I suggest though old chap/lady you keep that OPINION to yourself . As trying to pitch yourself against some of the world’s greatest scientists will only bring laughter to the readers , at your expense.

  9. Nope, it is carbon that is the problem, Jack. Mop up the carbon and the problem is gone. Lehigh University think they have made a breakthrough, There have been some before, some to come. Even Drax are indicating they will remove most of theirs-if they get enough tax payers money! Ineos are about to start trials with some of theirs, Denmark doing same, Glencore even in Australia. Rumours that UK will extend the scope to subsidise within the coming budget.

    The world’s greatest scientists? Which ones, Jack? Obviously excluding some from Oxford and Cambridge, and as for one previous UK Government Chief Scientific Officer, he had to turn in his grave to fall into the position the antis wanted. Little bit awkward as recent events have proven he was spot on.

    UK is not going to make one iota of difference to global temperature rise Jack, and in your “longer term” solar panels in UK will indeed come into their own-just before the increase in solar activity removes all life from earth. (I do recall the “world’s greatest scientists” requesting endless funding to fund space exploration as that would be required to maintain a human life form due to exactly that. No wonder the “world’s greatest scientists” always win out financially. Then even when they contradict each other, they still do-like with the issue of biofuel, with some Governments now even looking to BAN growing crops for such purposes.)

    Gritter just dieseled down my road, Jack. It must have been gritting the road to stop it melting. My chat to my friend from Canada indicated temperature rise has missed Canada and USA this winter too. Jack, you need to get into the game-it is temperature rise or global warming when the sun is shining and the shorts are on, climate change when it is cold and people are stuck on the M62!
    I do enjoy my English wines now though Jack. Perhaps in a previous incarnation I could have enjoyed them in Roman times. The bit in between-nope, not so good for English/Roman wines. The beer years.

    • MARTIN ,

      I did try to warn you ,

      With nothing more than an OPINION backed up with your usual sweet nothing , you question and dispute the findings of some of the world’s greatest scientists at NASA .

      Is there anything you don’t know ? 🤣

      I think you need to take another look .

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