How the UK can further reduce reliance on carbon was the focus of a special energy summit, hosted by National Grid in association with The Spectator recently.
Chaired by broadcaster Andrew Neil, the event brought together experts and industry leaders to discuss decarbonisation and reducing emissions.
David Wright, Director, Electricity Transmission, and Daniel Westerman, President, Distributed Energy and Renewables, represented National Grid.
Commenting on the summit, David said: “We need to recognise changes in the world and people’s lives – everyone deserves to breathe clean air. We have made huge progress to decarbonise energy in the UK, recently going two-and-a-half weeks’ coal-free. It’s a platform to build on as we aim towards net zero by 2050.”
Key points discussed during three panel sessions included the roles of nuclear power, hydrogen and boosting interconnector links. Panellists also discussed the need for more electric vehicle charging points in the UK, ways to boost electric transport adoption and what more can be done to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
“Integrating more renewable energy is clearly part of the solution. Demand for renewable energy is strong; and wind and solar are often among the cheapest forms of new generation”, said Daniel.
He added: “The variability of renewable energy production can be managed by spreading that variability over greater areas – through both electric transmission and interconnectors – and enhancing system flexibility through the use of batteries and the activation of distributed energy resources.
“The electricity sector has driven most of the reduction in UK emissions, down 60 per cent from 1990 levels, while emissions from transport have stayed largely constant. By accelerating the shift to electric vehicles, we can decarbonise the UK’s highest emissions sector more quickly.”
David and Daniel were joined at the event by leading figures including: David Joffe, Economy Wide Analysis Lead, Committee on Climate Change; Tim Lord, Director for Clean Growth, BEIS; Audrey Gallacher, Director of Policy, Energy UK; Antoinette Sandbach MP, BEIS Committee Member; Polly Billington, Director of UK100; and Natasha Engel, former Commissioner for Shale Gas and a former Labour MP.