Ground-mount solar and onshore wind will be cost-competitive with gas by 2020, a report issued by the Committee on Climate Change has claimed today.
The advisory board today published its ‘Power sector scenarios for the fifth carbon budget’ report this morning, which sets out specific scenarios on how the UK can meet its electricity demand by 2030.
The report states that 200TWh of new generation will be needed in the 2020s as old oil, gas and nuclear stations are decommissioned, adding that by then low-carbon options will be able to provide electricity at the same price – or cheaper – than the current cheapest form of energy in gas.
But for these generation technologies to deploy at requisite scale, the report states that the government must extend funding under the Levy Control Framework until 2025 at the earliest, and also bolster its budget.
The Conservative government has argued that spending under the LCF must be brought under control as, according to forecasts, it will near the limit of its headroom and top £9.1 billion by 2020/21, but the CCC report argues that allocated spending should be increased from £8 billion in 2020 to £9 billion.
This will allow the LCF to accommodate for additional deployment of low-carbon generation, particularly emerging technologies such as offshore wind and CCS which the CCC has said will still require subsidy support in 2025.
The report also calls for the government to set out a timetable and funding pots for future Contracts for Difference allocation rounds, but to also add reserve auction prices for mature technologies – such as a maximum strike price of £80p/MWh for solar and onshore wind by 2020.
Committee on Climate Change chairman Lord Deben said that the 2020s would be “crucial” in setting the future direction of UK power generation and in ensuring that 2050 climate change targets are met cost-effectively.
“The key tools are already in place to deliver the investment in low-carbon generation that is required. The government must now urgently clarify the direction of future policy to ensure the power sector can decarbonise at lowest cost to businesses and households,” he said.
The report’s suggestions will serve as yet another blow to the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s suggestions that measures to curb spending within the LCF are being proposed to help protect bill payers. It also follows a Good Energy report which claimed renewable deployment could actually provide net benefits to bill payers if it continued at its current pace, owing to the Merit Order Effect.