The UK is set to miss its target to generate green electricity by the middle of the next decade and threatens to “fundamentally undermine” being net zero by 2050, MPs have warned.
In a report released today (Friday 28 April), the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee said the UK “must rapidly increase the generation of fossil fuel-free electricity” and at the “current pace of change” it is “set to fail to hit its target of decarbonising the power sector by 2035.”
The cross-party group, which includes Conservative MPs, said ministers have not provided “strategic leadership” and there is no coherent, overarching plan.
They said if the government fails to meet the 2035 target of producing electricity without using gas there will be a physical limit to the amount of electric vehicles, electric heat pumps and other newly electrified processes.
The committee also warned that it will “fundamentally undermine” the UK’s ability to hit net zero by 2050.
The BEIS committee’s report is the latest in a series of warnings that the UK is set to miss its 2035 electricity targets.
Last month both the National Audit Office and the Climate Change Committee, the official government advisers, warned that the country risked missing the target.
‘It’s failed before and it keeps failing’
The new report by BEIS said the government was also not tackling the cost of developing new wind and solar farms, among other things.
Committee chairman Darren Jones told MPs on the Treasury Select Committee: “Ministers think that publishing strategies and releasing social media videos will deliver the energy infrastructure the country needs. It’s failed before and it keeps failing.
“The UK is now competing with the US and Europe for investment. Government must urgently make us an attractive investment proposition again and ensure that the pool of capital and labour available for building low-carbon energy projects is not lost.”
The warning comes two days after Lord Hill of Oareford, who led a review into the UK’s public listing scheme, warned that Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act was attracting money that could otherwise have been invested in the UK.
He said: “It’s like a dirty great Hoover is on full suction mode. The way that is re-enforcing a mentality that the US is sort of where you want to be for business is clearly a factor.”
He added: “I don’t see how one can begin to compete with the scale of the subsidy that the Americans are pumping into it, which is massive.”
The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero said: “We are taking real decisions to benefit this country: to deliver a secure, low-cost and low-carbon energy system, to decarbonise the UK’s electricity system by 2035, and to reduce energy bills across the UK.”