‘Golden opportunity’ to switch to low cost energy

The National Infrastructure Commission has claimed that Britain has a ‘golden opportunity’ to switch to greener ways of providing energy, but only if ministers act and back it soon.

The National Infrastructure Assessment, published by the commission, reports that making the switch towards low-carbon and renewable sources for both the country’s power and heating, combined with a move towards electric vehicles, would mean the customer of 2050 would pay the same in real terms for their energy as today.

Sir John Armitt, chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, warned this will only be possible if the right decisions are taken now by government, such as increasing efforts to improve the energy efficiency of the UK’s buildings and enabling a rapid switch to electric vehicles. He also stressed that the government will need to take steps to find low-carbon alternatives to oil and gas for heating homes and businesses.

Approximately 30 per cent of the UK’s electricity comes from renewable sources like wind and solar power, a rise from 12 per cent only five years ago. The National Infrastructure Assessment recommends that the government take steps to push this even further and ensures that a minimum of 50 per cent of electricity comes from renewables in 2030.

Armitt said: “Whether for cooking, lighting, keeping homes warm or electric cars on the road, where the UK’s energy comes from will need to change radically over the coming decades if the UK is to meet its legally-binding climate change targets.

“If we act now we have a golden opportunity to make our country greener, and protect the money in the pockets of consumers long into the future – something few of us expected to be able to do. Ministers can seize this chance by investing in renewables and other low-carbon technologies so they become the main players in our energy system – something that was considered a pipedream as little as a decade ago. But they need to act now to realise the full potential of what can be achieved.”

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