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UK ‘Needs More Green Energy Sources To Hit Climate Goals’

The UK needs to expand the range of green technologies in use if it is to hit its climate targets, according to a new report from Drax and Imperial College London.

Although the report showed that 2020 was the year in which renewable energy generation in the UK overtook fossil fuels and carbon emissions dropped 16 per cent year-on-year, the chief cause of this was the reduced demand for energy due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report stated that wind and solar are not going to be enough on their own to ensure Britain hits its targets. These two sources produced 30 per cent of Britain’s electricity in 2020, but that is only half the figure green energy needs to contribute by 2025 to hit the target. 

Lead author of the report Dr Iain Staffel of Imperial College said the next steps forward will harder, commenting: “Driving out the last sources of fossil carbon will require us to go beyond just having more wind and solar power.”

He added: “New business models, backed by policy and investment, will be needed to bring advanced but proven technologies into the mainstream.”

This means technologies like biomass fuel will have a bigger role to play. In the years to come, pressure relief valve technology may be as critical as wind turbines.

Chief executive of Drax Group Will Gardiner certainly thinks so, highlighting how the technology has been used by his firm in Europe’s biggest decarbonisation project, converting Britain’s biggest power station away from coal.

He remarked: “Biomass is unique among renewable technologies due to its versatility, from being used in power generation to hydrogen production - and even new forms of plastics.”

Mr Gardiner’s comments reasserted his views expressed in a recent interview with Utility Week. In it, he argued that it will be crucial for the government to provide a “clear framework” for the scale-up of green energy technologies like biomass in the months remaining before November’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.