What will the UK's energy mix look like in 2030?

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Adam Barber
December 6, 2012
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This content is from our archive. Some formatting or links may be broken.
What will the UK's energy mix look like in 2030?

Articulating the nature of the UK’s future energy mix is still proving to be a headache.

The Autumn statement from the Chancellor, George Osborne, provided gas investors and developers with some further clarity as he confirmed that the Government would approve the construction of up to 30 gas-fired power stations, with the ultimate aim of providing 26GW, or more, of capacity.

It was an interesting contrast to a report for Greenpeace and WWF-UK from Cambridge Econometrics, which argued that substantial investment in offshore wind by 2030 would see far more economic benefits than pursuing conventional and unconventional (shale) gas extraction.

According to the research, up to 70,000 more jobs would be created with additional offshore wind deployment, and GDP would be £20billion (0.8%) higher.

Taking the figures at face value then, if the Chancellor wishes to see growth from large infrastructure projects, offshore wind should be the clear winner.

Except politics, yet again, gets in the way.

But one thing that can be drawn from this is that the anti-wind lobby will increasingly find it difficult to argue against the cost of wind, which continues to fall.

Many say that wind is a false market, only existing because of Government subsidies. But let’s not forget that the nuclear industry was, and still is, subsidised. Indeed, not only in the UK, but also in Europe, the costs for pursuing nuclear energy continue to escalate.

Likewise, the exploration of oil and gas.

In fact, if we’re brutally honest, it’s very difficult to find an energy resource that doesn’t require subsidy. Coal is probably the cheapest, but if you’ve an eye on climate change and emissions, then it really shouldn’t be part of the equation.

The biggest threat to UK wind, then, comes not from economics, but from political inertia.

Without a commitment to decarbonise the energy sector by 2030, it’s very easy for the energy contribution from gas to be hiked up at the detriment to renewables – and wind in particular.

It’s still to early to guess as to what the UK’s energy mix might entail, but let’s not cut renewables out of the picture on the grounds of cost alone.

Articulating the nature of the UK’s future energy mix is still proving to be a headache.

The Autumn statement from the Chancellor, George Osborne, provided gas investors and developers with some further clarity as he confirmed that the Government would approve the construction of up to 30 gas-fired power stations, with the ultimate aim of providing 26GW, or more, of capacity.

It was an interesting contrast to a report for Greenpeace and WWF-UK from Cambridge Econometrics, which argued that substantial investment in offshore wind by 2030 would see far more economic benefits than pursuing conventional and unconventional (shale) gas extraction.

According to the research, up to 70,000 more jobs would be created with additional offshore wind deployment, and GDP would be £20billion (0.8%) higher.

Taking the figures at face value then, if the Chancellor wishes to see growth from large infrastructure projects, offshore wind should be the clear winner.

Except politics, yet again, gets in the way.

But one thing that can be drawn from this is that the anti-wind lobby will increasingly find it difficult to argue against the cost of wind, which continues to fall.

Many say that wind is a false market, only existing because of Government subsidies. But let’s not forget that the nuclear industry was, and still is, subsidised. Indeed, not only in the UK, but also in Europe, the costs for pursuing nuclear energy continue to escalate.

Likewise, the exploration of oil and gas.

In fact, if we’re brutally honest, it’s very difficult to find an energy resource that doesn’t require subsidy. Coal is probably the cheapest, but if you’ve an eye on climate change and emissions, then it really shouldn’t be part of the equation.

The biggest threat to UK wind, then, comes not from economics, but from political inertia.

Without a commitment to decarbonise the energy sector by 2030, it’s very easy for the energy contribution from gas to be hiked up at the detriment to renewables – and wind in particular.

It’s still to early to guess as to what the UK’s energy mix might entail, but let’s not cut renewables out of the picture on the grounds of cost alone.

Articulating the nature of the UK’s future energy mix is still proving to be a headache.

The Autumn statement from the Chancellor, George Osborne, provided gas investors and developers with some further clarity as he confirmed that the Government would approve the construction of up to 30 gas-fired power stations, with the ultimate aim of providing 26GW, or more, of capacity.

It was an interesting contrast to a report for Greenpeace and WWF-UK from Cambridge Econometrics, which argued that substantial investment in offshore wind by 2030 would see far more economic benefits than pursuing conventional and unconventional (shale) gas extraction.

According to the research, up to 70,000 more jobs would be created with additional offshore wind deployment, and GDP would be £20billion (0.8%) higher.

Taking the figures at face value then, if the Chancellor wishes to see growth from large infrastructure projects, offshore wind should be the clear winner.

Except politics, yet again, gets in the way.

But one thing that can be drawn from this is that the anti-wind lobby will increasingly find it difficult to argue against the cost of wind, which continues to fall.

Many say that wind is a false market, only existing because of Government subsidies. But let’s not forget that the nuclear industry was, and still is, subsidised. Indeed, not only in the UK, but also in Europe, the costs for pursuing nuclear energy continue to escalate.

Likewise, the exploration of oil and gas.

In fact, if we’re brutally honest, it’s very difficult to find an energy resource that doesn’t require subsidy. Coal is probably the cheapest, but if you’ve an eye on climate change and emissions, then it really shouldn’t be part of the equation.

The biggest threat to UK wind, then, comes not from economics, but from political inertia.

Without a commitment to decarbonise the energy sector by 2030, it’s very easy for the energy contribution from gas to be hiked up at the detriment to renewables – and wind in particular.

It’s still to early to guess as to what the UK’s energy mix might entail, but let’s not cut renewables out of the picture on the grounds of cost alone.

Articulating the nature of the UK’s future energy mix is still proving to be a headache.

The Autumn statement from the Chancellor, George Osborne, provided gas investors and developers with some further clarity as he confirmed that the Government would approve the construction of up to 30 gas-fired power stations, with the ultimate aim of providing 26GW, or more, of capacity.

It was an interesting contrast to a report for Greenpeace and WWF-UK from Cambridge Econometrics, which argued that substantial investment in offshore wind by 2030 would see far more economic benefits than pursuing conventional and unconventional (shale) gas extraction.

According to the research, up to 70,000 more jobs would be created with additional offshore wind deployment, and GDP would be £20billion (0.8%) higher.

Taking the figures at face value then, if the Chancellor wishes to see growth from large infrastructure projects, offshore wind should be the clear winner.

Except politics, yet again, gets in the way.

But one thing that can be drawn from this is that the anti-wind lobby will increasingly find it difficult to argue against the cost of wind, which continues to fall.

Many say that wind is a false market, only existing because of Government subsidies. But let’s not forget that the nuclear industry was, and still is, subsidised. Indeed, not only in the UK, but also in Europe, the costs for pursuing nuclear energy continue to escalate.

Likewise, the exploration of oil and gas.

In fact, if we’re brutally honest, it’s very difficult to find an energy resource that doesn’t require subsidy. Coal is probably the cheapest, but if you’ve an eye on climate change and emissions, then it really shouldn’t be part of the equation.

The biggest threat to UK wind, then, comes not from economics, but from political inertia.

Without a commitment to decarbonise the energy sector by 2030, it’s very easy for the energy contribution from gas to be hiked up at the detriment to renewables – and wind in particular.

It’s still to early to guess as to what the UK’s energy mix might entail, but let’s not cut renewables out of the picture on the grounds of cost alone.

Articulating the nature of the UK’s future energy mix is still proving to be a headache.

The Autumn statement from the Chancellor, George Osborne, provided gas investors and developers with some further clarity as he confirmed that the Government would approve the construction of up to 30 gas-fired power stations, with the ultimate aim of providing 26GW, or more, of capacity.

It was an interesting contrast to a report for Greenpeace and WWF-UK from Cambridge Econometrics, which argued that substantial investment in offshore wind by 2030 would see far more economic benefits than pursuing conventional and unconventional (shale) gas extraction.

According to the research, up to 70,000 more jobs would be created with additional offshore wind deployment, and GDP would be £20billion (0.8%) higher.

Taking the figures at face value then, if the Chancellor wishes to see growth from large infrastructure projects, offshore wind should be the clear winner.

Except politics, yet again, gets in the way.

But one thing that can be drawn from this is that the anti-wind lobby will increasingly find it difficult to argue against the cost of wind, which continues to fall.

Many say that wind is a false market, only existing because of Government subsidies. But let’s not forget that the nuclear industry was, and still is, subsidised. Indeed, not only in the UK, but also in Europe, the costs for pursuing nuclear energy continue to escalate.

Likewise, the exploration of oil and gas.

In fact, if we’re brutally honest, it’s very difficult to find an energy resource that doesn’t require subsidy. Coal is probably the cheapest, but if you’ve an eye on climate change and emissions, then it really shouldn’t be part of the equation.

The biggest threat to UK wind, then, comes not from economics, but from political inertia.

Without a commitment to decarbonise the energy sector by 2030, it’s very easy for the energy contribution from gas to be hiked up at the detriment to renewables – and wind in particular.

It’s still to early to guess as to what the UK’s energy mix might entail, but let’s not cut renewables out of the picture on the grounds of cost alone.

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Not a member yet?

Become a member of the 6,500-strong A Word About Wind community today, and gain access to our premium content, exclusive lead generation and investment opportunities.