Energy: Carbon Emissions

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 17th October 2017.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to maximise take-up from low-carbon energy sources.

Photo of Richard Harrington Richard Harrington Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

The UK has led the world in introducing legally binding Carbon Budgets and we have out-performed our first budget to 2012 by 1 per cent and are on track to over-achieve the second and third Budgets by almost 5 and 4 per cent respectively. Since 1990, we have cut emissions by more than 40 per cent while our economy has grown by two thirds. On a per person basis, this means that we have reduced emissions faster than any other G7 nation.

We also generating much more of our power from clean sources and are on track to deliver 35 per cent of generation from renewables by 2020-21 - exceeding our ambition of 30 per cent.

Renewables have an important role to play in decarbonising energy use in many end use sectors. On 7 June 2017 renewable energy met more than 50 per cent of the power demand, generating more than both gas and coal combined. A record 26% of renewable electricity generated in the 12 months to September 2016 came from renewables.

In the second Contracts for Difference round we have secured 3.3GW of renewable electricity, enough to power 3.6 million homes. The results were announced on 11 September 2017 and show that the UK is an attractive place to invest with a record amount of renewable capacity secured to power our homes and a significant reduction in the cost of supporting the development of offshore wind farms. Competition has driven offshore wind costs over 50% lower than the first auction in 2015. We are maintaining our position as a global leader in offshore wind in support of a modern industrial strategy securing 3.2GW of new offshore wind capacity.

As a result of the Second Round Allocation results we will see a saving of 5.4 million tonnes of carbon a year, the equivalent of average annual carbon emissions from 2.8 million cars.

The Department has an active programme of action to remove barriers to uptake and promote take up of low carbon heat, as well as taking action on energy efficiency to reduce demand for heat.

This includes encouraging households and businesses to install renewable heat systems like biomass boilers and electric heat pumps through the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI). The RHI is designed to bridge the gap between the cost of fossil fuel heat sources and renewable heat alternatives. To date the scheme has supported the deployment of over 60,000 domestic and 17,000 non-domestic renewable heat installations.

The Department has allocated £320m of funding to support investment in heat networks over the next five years, leveraging over £1bn of private and local capital investment and helping to create a sustainable market for low carbon heat networks in the 2020s.

The Department is working with major industrial sectors to set out short term collaborative actions on decarbonisation.

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