More than 100 UK energy companies are set to write a letter to UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak urging him to remain committed to the country’s green agenda.
The letter follows a report from the UK Government’s Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), which warns that the cost of continued gas reliance is more than double that of reaching net zero.
Energy companies fear the UK is missing out on green investment as the EU and the US offer more competitive economic advantages.
“The OBR report reinforces the economic case to move much faster on the deployment of renewables in our energy system, which will ultimately help to bring down household energy bills and protect us from future fossil fuel price shocks,” former minister and president of COP26 Alok Sharma told the Observer, sister site to news organisation the Guardian.
The OBR described the UK as one of the “most gas-dependent economies in Europe”. According to the report, the cost of reaching net zero by 2050 will be around £327bn ($428bn) over the next 30 years. However, the UK has so far only committed £22.5bn ($29.4bn).
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The report states that “there is so far limited evidence of as strong a supply response to the lower relative cost of renewable energy in the UK”.
“In 2022, the UK saw an increase of 11% in its wind generation capacity and 4% in solar generation capacity (compared to increases of 8% and 22%, respectively, in European countries). But despite the fact that the lifetime cost of renewable energy is now cheaper, there is little sign of a step-change in renewable energy investment in the UK following the recent gas price spike,” it goes on.
Former UK Energy Minister Chris Skidmore described the report as a “landmark intervention” that underlined the “devastating reality that to follow a ‘not zero’ path would lead not only to further environmental crisis but a future economic crisis also,” to the Guardian.
Renewable generation accounted for most of the UK’s energy mix over the weekend amid strong winds, but gas remains a major part of that mix.
On Saturday, wind power accounted for around 52.6% of the electricity generated in the UK, or 14.2GW. Nuclear accounted for 16.6%, gas for 12.3% and solar for 8%. On Sunday, wind accounted for 49.1%, nuclear for 15.9%, gas for 16.6% and solar for 7.8%.