Will renewable energy overshoot govt targets? No chance, National Grid says [Advertorial]

By politics.co.uk staff

National Grid has abandoned its 'accelerated growth' scenario for renewable energy, in a significant backwards step for environmentalists.

Its annual 'future energy scenarios' paper cited political uncertainty about the policy commitment of the next government as it sized up the many variables which will shape Britain's future energy mix.

It has rejected the notion that renewable energy could take off in Britain beyond the government's goal of achieving 15% of energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020.

Richard Smith, head of energy strategy and policy, said: "We've retired our accelerated growth scenario. This is a scenario we've produced for the last couple of years which has as its fundamental premise exceeding the deployment of renewable energy above that required to hit the government targets.

"Over the past 12 months our stakeholders have consistently told us that's no longer a credible scenario, so this year we've taken it out of the scenarios we've produced."

Instead only two alternatives are considered: a 'gone green' scenario in which Britain presses ahead with significant renewable energy generation and a 'slow progression' alternative in which either high gas or high coal production continues.

The latter sees a failure to secure global climate agreements, prompting "a lack of coordination and national policy harmonisation across Europe". It also warns of "differing goals across government departments" resulting in "multiple policy interventions, increased uncertainty and perceived political risk for investors in GB energy markets".

The alternative requires "consistent goals across government departments". The possibility of further Conservative influence on renewable energy, with deep scepticism among backbenchers about the utility of onshore wind energy, suggests the 'gone green' scenario is far from guaranteed.

It also requires moderate economic growth, a "significant" takeup in energy efficiency as a result of the government's struggling green deal programme and a stable carbon price.

 National Grid, itself one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world, said electricity demand from light bulbs could halve by 2020 as a result of the switch to LED bulbs.

Ministers make a big deal of energy efficiency measures via its Green Deal, but a significant part of the drive to reduce supply will come from boiler replacements. These are "considerable" and around 40TWh of savings are expected by 2030, today's report said.

For more information on National Grid's Future Energy Scenarios 2013 report, including videos, please visit their Opinion Former pages on Politics.co.uk.