When the topic of renewable energy arises, the common questions of impact and cost always crop up, and this inevitably leads on to more serious questions about just how much of a role it will have in the future in the UK. According to a new paper, renewable energy most certainly has a role to play, and a big one at that.
The paper published by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) says renewable energy must be part of the National Infrastructure Commission’s (NIC) plans to meet the energy-related challenges that the UK will face in the next few decades.
Plotting the Course states new energy sources and supplies should be one of eight priority areas for the NIC. It also says the capture and storage of both hydrogen and carbon should be a part of any future strategy alongside, or in their words “hand in hand”, with keeping energy costs down.
The paper, which can be read in full by clicking the image directly below, is also clear on the question of potential political obstacles and warns the commission not to be waylaid by politics when it comes to taking decisions. It lays out a need for the NIC to focus instead on “long-term planning to tackle the challenges” that lay ahead for the UK.
If a lower-carbon economy is to be established, the CBI believe electricity will need to meet more of the country’s energy needs and the paper is clear on how this additional electricity could and should be used:
“The electrification of heat and transport would double our current peak electricity demand, but would require significant upgrades to our electricity infrastructure.”
The other priority areas mentioned are as follows:
- Flood defences
The CBI’s business environment director Rhian Kelly gave a statement that encouraged the NIC to act decisively:
“The National Infrastructure Commission gives the UK the perfect opportunity to carefully and strategically plot the course of its long-term infrastructure needs. It allows both government and business to plan now for the challenges that the decades to come will bring, like the effects of climate change and increased demand on our infrastructure.
With a strong commission, we can deliver the projects – from upgrading our digital connectivity to boost productivity, to investing in new energy sources for a low-carbon economy – that will enable firms up and down the country to get on with growing our economy and creating jobs for the long-run.”
But she too was wary of the potentially negative role politics could play, adding:
“For this to happen though, it’s vital the Commission is not blown off course by politics. This independent body must be given strong teeth by politicians so that it can recommend significant infrastructure decisions, like building a new runway in the South East, are made for the future benefit of all.”
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