While acknowledging that there is ‘no agreement on an ideal blueprint’ for the future, Professor Skea discusses what the brave new low-carbon UK of the future might look like: ‘An increasing number of homes could be heated by electric heat pumps instead of gas-fired boilers. Electricity generation will have been significantly “de-carbonised”, but the exact mix of nuclear, renewable and clean gas plant is far from certain. Over time we will narrow down the uncertainties by gaining more experience of nuclear and renewable. We will also learn whether “carbon capture and storage” can be made to work, allowing coal and gas to contribute to a clean electricity mix.’
Professor Skea calls for investment in renewable energy, and in particular onshore and offshore wind. Renewables have the potential to produce up to 30% of the UK’s electricity by 2020, and investment will be key in ensuring the UK meets its energy and climate change goals, and meets its obligations under EU directives. He also points to the potential contribution of nuclear which will need investment now if it is to form part of the 2020s energy mix.
He comments: ‘Thinking 40 years ahead, “knowing what you don’t know” is wise. Choosing now between technology A or technology B would be the wrong course. We need to develop technology A and technology B – and have the courage to close down options that demonstrably fail.
‘This is the key to avoiding policy paralysis. For the next 10 years, we know exactly what needs to be done. Energy efficiency, renewable development, planning for nuclear investment and supporting research, development and demonstration in new technologies are simply no-brainers.’
To read the full article, go to http://www.channel4.com/news/navigating-the-energy-maze-whats-the-uks-energy-future Ends.