Can we decarbonise the UK?

Read our renewable energy report

In 2021, the UK government hosted COP26, the most critical climate conference yet. That same year, it “set in law [the] world’s most ambitious climate change target” to slash emissions by 78% no later than 2035, bringing the country closer to reaching net zero by the 2050 deadline.

Fast forward to 2022, and we’re living against the backdrop of the cost-of-living crisis and a newly installed government. A recent survey by Survation, commissioned by RenewableUK, found that 77% of UK citizens think the new government should use new wind and solar farms to reduce electricity bills and 76% support building renewable energy projects in their local area.

Is enough being done to ensure government targets can actually be met and do the targets go far enough?

Our report unpicks the current state of play of the UK renewable energy sector and shows how people working within it on established technologies such as solar and emerging technologies such as tidal turbines and battery storage perceive the challenges and opportunities ahead of them as they work to meet these targets.

Read our report

100% of interviewees believe the targets are achievable with increased action; however, 75% doubt that they will actually be met

88% of interviewees cited inconsistent policy as a significant barrier to meeting targets

63% of interviewees are not entirely confident that existing courses make students work-ready for the sector

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“2050 [is] 28 years away, but there’s a need to really, really stress that everything has to be done now or everything that we can do now needs to be done.”

“We need to see an underlying industry strategy that captures all the value of the targets – including jobs, knowledge, innovation – rather than just showing top level progress.”

“What is really needed to increase deployment of renewables is investment in the capacity and technical intelligence of the electricity network rather than continuing or rebooting financial support mechanisms akin to those we have previously had.”

“We’re struggling to even back-fill vacant positions. To grow to the extent we need to get to the 2035 and 2050 targets is going to be a huge challenge. And skills are lacking not just on the development side, but also on construction and operations and maintenance, so there’s a massive skills gap.”

“So many projects are currently sitting in the register waiting to be developed that aren’t going to be developed and never will be. If there was a simple cleanse – just requiring evidence that a project is going somewhere or else taking capacity away – then I think that 10–12 gigawatts would be available within a few weeks. Freeing up capacity immediately like this would bring those connection dates from 2030 back to 2027.”

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