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January 18, 2024

AtkinsRealis Issues Stark Warning on UK's Energy Build Rate: A Call to Action for Sustainable Progress

Explore the latest findings from the AtkinsRéalis study on the UK's energy build rate and its implications for achieving net zero goals. Read NDC Mechanical & Electrical's in-depth analysis on the future of sustainable energy in the UK.

By NDC Mechanical and Electrical, Kent

In the race towards a sustainable future, the UK faces a pivotal challenge in accelerating its energy build rate, as underscored by the recent findings of engineering firm AtkinsRealis. Their latest study, "Countdown to 2035," raises alarm bells over the UK's lagging progress in achieving its revised net zero electricity targets.

Full Report

New Projections for the UK's Energy Build Rate

The updated AtkinsRéalis study, titled "Countdown to 2035," reveals a pressing need for the UK to increase its annual energy build rate. Initially set at 10.5GW per year in 2019 to meet the 2050 net zero electricity goal, the requirement has now escalated to 15.5GW per year, aligning with the revised 2035 target. Originally, AtkinsRealis projected a build rate of 10.5GW per year in 2019 to meet the 2050 net zero goal. However, with the government shifting the target to 2035, the study's 2024 update now mandates a staggering 15.5GW per year. This considerable increase from the previous rate highlights the urgency for expedited efforts in energy infrastructure.

Current State vs. Required Build Rate

Current achievements in the UK's energy sector fall short of these revised requirements. The record build rate achieved was 6.5GW in 2017, but recent years have seen a decline, with just 4.5GW added in 2022. This gap underscores the urgency for increased action in energy infrastructure development.

Consequences of a Sluggish Energy Build Rate

The study warns of the compound effects of failing to ramp up the energy build rate. If the rate increases by only 10% each year, an overwhelming peak of 40GW per year will be necessary by 2035. However, a 15% annual increase would lower this peak to a more manageable 25GW per year, emphasising the need for accelerated progress.

The Role of Contracts for Difference (CfD) in Renewable Energy Growth

The CfD scheme is highlighted as a beacon of progress, significantly boosting renewable energy projects, particularly in offshore wind. This scheme underlines the government's role in facilitating the growth of sustainable energy sources through financial incentives.

The Gap Between Aspiration and Reality

The UK's highest recorded build rate peaked at 6.5GW in 2017, but recent years have witnessed a concerning decline, with just 4.5GW added in 2022. This discrepancy between the required and actual rates points to an immediate need for strategic action in renewable energy development.

The Consequences of Inaction

AtkinsRealis' research predicts that a mere 10% annual increase in the build rate would necessitate a daunting 40GW per year by 2035. Conversely, a more proactive approach with a 15% yearly increase could reduce the peak requirement to a manageable 25GW per year, emphasizing the importance of swift and sustained progress.

The Role of Government Initiatives

The study spotlights the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme as a successful driver of renewable energy growth, especially in offshore wind. The CfD's financial incentives have proven pivotal in advancing the government's sustainable energy agenda.

Strategies for Realizing Net Zero Ambitions

AtkinsRealis advocates for practical solutions, including reforms in the planning system and bolstering the UK's energy networks. The focus should be on devising realistic delivery plans over merely theoretical models to ensure a steady increase in energy capacity.

The findings of AtkinsRealis represent a critical juncture for the UK's energy sector, calling for immediate and significant action to boost the nation's energy build rate. The task is formidable, yet achievable with collective efforts from government, industry, and energy providers. At NDC Mechanical and Electrical, we are dedicated to contributing to this vital transition by offering innovative and sustainable energy

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