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Electricity Generation

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 17th October 2019.

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Photo of Nicholas Dakin Nicholas Dakin Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how the Government plans to meet the projected shortfall in electricity supply by 2050 while achieving net zero-emissions targets; what changes to Government policy will be required; what energy mix will provide the best value for money for the taxpayer to meet that shortfall; and how much of that growth in electricity output will come from onshore wind power.

Photo of Kwasi Kwarteng Kwasi Kwarteng The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

This Government is committed to delivering net zero emissions by 2050 which will require significant effort in all sectors. We are currently considering next steps in the light of the recent commitment to net zero. In power, we have made great progress in decarbonising electricity generation whilst meeting demand, and over half our electricity generation was from low-carbon sources last year, up from 23% in 2010.

As we continue to reduce emissions the exact mix of the electricity system will be affected by the approach to decarbonisation in other sectors, technology costs and the emergence of new technologies. It is not for government to prescribe the proportion of generation that will come from any specific technology in 2050; rather the role of government will be to enable the market to deliver the levels of deployment required whilst minimising both emissions and systems costs.

A diverse mix is likely to be required. We agree with the CCC Net Zero report that the falling cost of renewables means that they are likely to provide the majority of capacity in any low cost, low carbon system. Renewable generation would be complimented with firm low-carbon generation provided from sources such as nuclear and gas or biomass generation with carbon capture, usage and storage. In addition, we expect to see a significant increase in the levels of flexibility and storage in the electricity system.

We will be setting out our more detailed plans in due course in a future White Paper.

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