Solar Energy UK
28 April 2023
MPs’ demand for a joined-up approach to removing fossil fuels from the UK’s electricity system has received firm backing from the solar energy industry.
In October 2021, the Government said that all electricity generation should be decarbonised by 2035, underpinned by “abundant, cheap British renewables”.
But in a report published today, the House of Commons’ Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee notes that there is no roadmap for delivering this vital goal, with policy decisions being made “in silos”.
“An overarching delivery plan for the decarbonisation of power, with clear milestones and contingencies, will help the Government bring a complex set of interrelated tasks together,” say the MPs. Their view echoes that of the Climate Change Committee and National Audit Office.
The report identifies the threat of long delays to grid connections to projects that are otherwise ready to go as another stumbling block that must be resolved quickly. Ofgem should approve anticipatory investment in grid reinforcement, and the connection process should be overhauled, adding that the regulator “and the Future System Operator should be given clear duties to deliver on net zero”.
Accepting these recommendations would benefit the solar industry and the entire economy.
“The UK’s solar sector is scaling up – but must grow at a far greater pace to meet the Government’s 70 gigawatts by 2035 target. As the committee rightly identifies, unreasonably long delays to connecting larger-scale solar projects to the grid are hampering decarbonisation and the delivery of cheaper bills, not to mention inhibiting inward investment,” said Solar Energy UK Chief Executive Chris Hewett.
“This report shows a growing cross-party consensus for acceleration in grid investment. Whitehall now recognises these issues, announcing the formation of a government-industry Solar Taskforce as part of the recent Energy Security Day package. This will agree on a roadmap for the solar sector. We expect that resolving connection delays, which can stretch far into the 2030s, will be a top priority,” he added.
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