British economy would be £20bn-a-year better off with focus on wind power, says think tank

 

Britain’s “dash-for-gas” strategy has been undermined just a day before chancellor George Osborne is set to place the fossil fuel at the heart of UK energy policy, as a new report finds the economy would be better off harnessing offshore wind instead.

The British economy would be £20bn-a-year better off by 2030 if it favoured offshore wind over gas-fired generation as the driver of an essential overhaul of the country’s energy infrastructure over the next two decades to replace aging power plants and keep the lights on, according to Cambridge Econometrics, the think tank.

Paul Ekins, professor of resources and environmental policy at University College London (UCL) said: “Much of the debate around the choice between gas-fired and offshore wind electricity generation in the years post-2020 assumes wind is more expensive. This study represents powerful evidence to the contrary.”

The report calculates that, as well as increasing Britain’s gross domestic product by 0.8 per cent by 2030, carbon emissions from the UK’s power sector would be two-thirds lower under the wind-based scenario, bringing country’s overall carbon footprint down by 13 per cent. This would make Britain far more likely to meet its ambitious, legally-binding target of reducing its overall emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.

The report envisages a rush into offshore wind between 2020 and 2030 that would triple the amount of energy it generates to 38 per cent of the UK’s electricity supply.

It also considers a parallel scenario, where wind development ceases in 2020 so that it accounts for just 10 per cent of the electricity supply ten years later, with gas generation makes up the difference and accounting for 36 per cent of the total generation.

The report focuses on the period between 2020 and 2030 because Britain’s energy strategy peters out around the end of this decade. This has happened, in large part, because Mr Osborne successfully lobbied to have a target that would have made British electricity almost entirely green by 2030 taken out of last week’s energy bill.

“A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: “We need a balanced low-carbon energy mix. That means new gas, plus renewables, new nuclear and carbon capture and storage technology, to meet our climate targets and ensure security of supply.

“The Gas Generation Strategy will set out the important role that gas generation will play in any future generation mix, in supporting a secure, low-carbon and affordable electricity system.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Savvy Media Ltd: Media Sales executive - Crawley

£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible