The infrastructure report recently released by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), states that the UK must seize a “golden” opportunity to steer the country towards greener energy and away from fossil fuels.
The report says that, “ten years ago, it seemed almost impossible that the UK would be able to be powered mainly by renewable energy in an affordable and reliable way” but that, “there has been a quiet revolution going on in this area.”
According to the report, 50 per cent of the UK’s power generation should come from renewable sources by 2030, up 20 per cent from where it currently stands.
Five years ago, the UK sourced only 12 per cent of its energy from renewable energy.
Commission chairman Sir John Armitt said: “If we act now we have a golden opportunity to make our country greener, and protect the money in the pockets of consumers long into the future – something few of us expected to be able to do.
“Ministers can seize this chance by investing in renewables and other low-carbon technologies so they become the main players in our energy system – something that was considered a pipedream as little as a decade ago.”
Such changes would mean in investing in low cost technologies while efforts to improve the energy efficiency of buildings will also need to be increased.
The report urges for 21,000 energy efficient improvements to be made in UK homes, from loft insulation through to double glazing.
It also urges the government to push forward with a trial, supplying 10,000 homes with hydrogen gas by 2023.
In regards to road transport, the report states that the area will be “unrecognisable” by 2050 as more vehicles become electric and autonomous, while noting that 80 per cent of UK air pollution breaches currently come from vehicles.
The government needs to be prepared for 100 per cent electric vehicle sales by 2030, the authors say, and that it should scrap plans for only half of cars to be “ultra-low emission”.
A government spokesperson said: “Upgrading the UK’s infrastructure is at the heart of our plan to boost growth and productivity.
“The UK is a world leader in tackling climate change and renewables, having reduced our emissions by 30% [while] our industrial strategy prioritises the research and development of clean energy sources.
“As we continue our transition to a low carbon economy and meet this challenge, the government is committed to providing a secure energy system with a diverse energy mix in which new nuclear has an important role to play.”
Read more about what the NIC report said about plastics recycling, here.