UK must invest in 'big six' renewables urges LSE report
The UK must focus on six key areas if it it is to 'build back better' from the pandemic and reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, according to a London School of Economics report.
In its paper entitled Jobs for a strong and sustainable recovery from Covid-19, it advises the government to place net-zero-aligned investments at the heart of the UK’s recovery plan. In particular, it highlights six key areas for investment:
- Energy efficiency in buildings
- Natural capital projects
- Active travel equipment and infrastructure, such as bicycles and cycle lanes
- Renewable power generation and distribution
- Electric vehicle production and charging infrastructure
- Carbon capture, utilisation and storage and hydrogen production
There is an "urgent and immediate demand for labour-intensive and hence job-creating investments, to address the large-scale labour market displacements as the Covid-19 crisis continues to unfold and crucially, to help avoid costly and damaging labour market scarring," the report notes.
The areas it highlights would provide an environmental-economy twin win as construction projects for travel infrastructure, home energy efficiency retrofits, and planting trees and restoring wetlands are recognised as being capable of delivering jobs at speed, it adds.
While the UK has made a strong start with renewables, packages of support for clean activity in France and Germany "appear larger in magnitude". Although the technologies exist to meet the UK's ambitious emissions target, technology maturity levels vary and delivery must progress with far greater urgency if it is to stay on track, it notes.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.