According to a report published today (Wednesday 16 June 2010) by the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) the UK has the potential to reach zero carbon status by 2030. The report includes research input from thirteen universities, twelve research bodies and eight key industry players.

“zerocarbonbritain2030 shows how the right mix of wind power, hydro, solar, biomass – plus an intelligent grid to manage demand. We can ‘keep the lights on’ and supply the energy the country needs– with major win-wins across the economy,” said Paul Allen at CAT.

The report has been published with the aim of driving the country’s efforts to cut their emissions by choosing alternative renewable power technologies. Now that the UK has a feed-in tariff incentive for installing solar photovoltaics, the report outlines that the increased investment for renewable energy generation is expected to rise.

Quoting David Matthews, Chief Executive of the Solar Trade Association the report outlines the importance of solar’s role in the 2030 target. “The opportunities solar provides for the UK economy are massive with a huge potential for job creation – in excess of 100,000 people could be employed in the installation of solar across the country. Today, we are already witnessing these size industries in our European neighbours. Solar benefits both the homeowner and the economy,” explains Matthews.

Key priorities of the report include:

63% reduction in energy use for transport could be achieved by:
–   A switch from petrol / diesel powered vehicles to electric / battery powered vehicles.
–   Rail and bus services replacing domestic and short haul flights.
–   Two- thirds reduction in long haul aviation using kerosene fuel produced from coppice in the UK.

50% reduction in heat and electricity demand could be achieved by:
– Insulation of all of Britain's un-insulated cavity walls and lofts.
-Using natural construction materials such as wood, straw and other natural materials will lock away C02.

Land Use
– Britain can grow most of its own food whilst still producing biomass for heating, electricity and transport fuel.
– Land can be used to mop up residual emissions through sequestration.
– A 80% reduction in livestock products that generate 82% of green house gases in the agricultural sector. Non-livestock products generate more food and have a higher nutritional value.

The report also recognizes that action in the UK alone is not enough, making the transition will require unprecedented collaboration on a global scale. The report:
– Emphasises the urgent need for an international agreement
– Explores different policy options for emissions reduction including cap and trade, carbon tax and tradable energy quotas

“CAT’s report shows that a zero carbon Britain is both desirable and achievable. The first stop on the journey should be a 10% reduction. We have tens of thousands of individuals and businesses already working towards this target. CAT's report should serve as an inspiration to us all.” Eugenie Harvey, Director of 10:10UK.