The government published its long awaited Energy White Paper in December 2020. It promises a decarbonisation of the energy system over the next 30 years, coupled with a potential doubling of electricity demand. As such, the White Paper suggests a four-fold increase in low carbon energy generation will be required.
A range of electricity generation technologies and innovations are put forward, although the government has been careful not to specify a specific target energy generation mix for 2050. Having said that, the greater role for offshore wind is specifically noted, and a fourfold increase in deployment of 40GW by 2030. It also notes that onshore wind and solar will be ‘key building blocks of the future generation mix’ but no specific figures for these technologies are mentioned.
A Ministerial Delivery Group is proposed to oversee expansion of renewable energy across the UK, which will tackle barriers and work to reduce consenting delays whilst ensuring that planning guidelines and environmental regulations are fit for purpose.
The government notes that biomass which is used as a fuel for bioenergy, including for energy from waste, has the potential to deliver negative emissions and so is one of the most valuable tools for delivering net zero emissions. A new Biomass Strategy is promised for 2022 and the government is also committing to review the role biomass can play with a preliminary position paper being published summer 2021.
A review of the National Policy Statements is promised to be conclude by the end of 2021, although again the government is careful to explain that the current NPS will continue to provide a proper basis for determining applications for Development Consent in the meantime. Interesting too is the comment in the White Paper that there should not be an inferred limit on the number of Development Consent Orders which may be granted for any type of generating infrastructure set out in the Energy NPS. It is our hope that the revamped Energy NPS will encompass solar within its remit so as to provide greater clarity for the increasing number of such DCOs which are being sought.
Take a look at our note summarising the Energy White Paper 2020.
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