UK urged to double clean energy deployment for 2035 goal

A new report warns that the UK’s slow progress toward 2035 energy target may hinder the country’s ability to meet net zero goals

Big Zero Report 2023

The UK must urgently accelerate its deployment of renewables and nuclear energy to achieve the ambitious goal of a fully decarbonised power grid by 2035.

That’s according to analysis conducted by AtkinsRealis which indicates a need for 187GW of new generating capacity, partly driven by increased electrification in transport and industry.

In 2019, AtkinsRéalis forecasted a build rate of 10.5GW/year for net zero electricity by 2050.

This projection increased to 14GW by 2022 with the introduction of more ambitious 2035 targets.

The latest analysis, featured in the “Countdown to 2035” report, suggests the UK must annually connect 15.5GW of new generating capacity until 2035 to meet system goals, contrasting sharply with the mere 4.5GW connected in 2022.

The report warns of a compounding effect resulting from persistent shortfalls in the build rate.

If the UK achieves a 15% year-on-year increase in the build rate, the peak build rate by 2035 would reach 25GW/year, approximately five times the 2022 rate and four times the UK’s previous highest recorded build rate of 6.5GW in 2017.

However, a more conservative 10% increase would escalate the required peak build rate to 40GW/year by 2035, equivalent to deploying 30 of the UK’s largest offshore wind farms in a single year.

Sarah Long, Market Director for Net Zero Energy at AtkinsRéalis, said: “The UK must maintain a laser-like focus on deployment and delivery of net zero generation and the energy infrastructure required to support it.

“That includes initiatives such as the Civil Nuclear Roadmap announced last week that lays out interim targets against long term goals, encompasses support for new technology as well as proven large scale projects and is an example of the type of framework that will help to provide long term certainty to investors and boost the build rate.”

Make sure you check out the latest Net Hero Podcast episode: