UK ministers approve ambitious fifth carbon budget
Amid the chaos of the EU Referendum, the UK government is set to allay fears about the impact of Brexit on carbon reduction targets.
Ministers have announced a plan to deliver emissions cuts of 57 percent against 1990 levels by 2032 as part of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s fifth carbon budget.
Energy Secretary Amber Rudd told yesterday’s Business Climate Summit in London that the UK’s commitment to climate change action will not be affected by the vote to leave the European Union.
"We must not turn our back on Europe or the world,” Rudd said. “So while I think the UK's role in dealing with a warming planet may have been made harder by the decision last Thursday, our commitment to dealing with it has not gone away."
However, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the advisers responsible for recommending the new levels of emissions cuts, have warned that the necessary policies are not in place to meet the targets.
Ministers have said that they will deliver a large-scale plan before the end of the year detailing strategies for closing the so-called ‘policy gap’ and hastening carbon reduction over the next 15 years.
This morning, Labour opposition voiced concerned that the government will still miss the end of the month deadline for formally adopting the carbon budget. The party’s new Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary has said that simply announcing the intent to adopt the budget is “not good enough.”
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.