There is a “groundswell” of industry opinion, a UK energy sector leader has said, that the country is going to miss its net zero emissions targets.
“We’re losing probably at least a decade in terms of what had hoped to be 2045 / 2050 net zero achieved”, Stuart Broadley, CEO of the Energy Industries Council (EIC), told the Energy Voice Out Loud podcast during Aberdeen’s Energy Exports Conference.
Mr Broadley said the sentiment applies to Scotland’s 2045 target and the UK’s later 2050 goal, as well as interim measures.
“We need a bit of a crisis moment to accept that this is serious and we’re really missing those targets and we’re sleepwalking into it, so we need to talk about it and get on with it,” he told the podcast.
‘We no longer think we will achieve our 2050 net zero targets’
He cited a range of reasons including grid capacity, a lack of storage solutions, skills shortages and greater emphasis on oil and gas production in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.
“There’s a groundswell of opinion which is just not yet reflected by energy ministers that we will not hit our interim or our 2045 for Scotland, 2050 for the UK, binding net zero targets.”
He later added: “It’s not yet talked about outwardly by the ministers, it’s actually not talked about much in the press. I don’t know why because it’s not a secret, everybody thinks that.
“So I do think it’s about time we had the adult discussion about if we all now accept those targets are not going to be achieved, and even if we now say ‘we need a course correction to try and change it’ it’s not going to be enough to achieve those targets, we need to talk about that.
“We need to reflect on how did we let that happen and what are we going to do next.”
Wood and Aramco talk CCS
In an earlier plenary session at the EEC conference, Mr Broadley told the audience: “Increasingly, the people I speak to, rooms-full of people I ask to vote on, would say we no longer think we will achieve our 2050 net zero targets.
“I would bet many of you also feel it’s very unlikely, the way we’re going, that we will hit our 2050 net zero targets.”
The emphasis was placed firmly on Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCS) as a means of getting there.
Wood CEO Ken Gilmartin said “it’s clear there is no road to net zero for the world without carbon capture”.
On the wider net zero question, he added that CCUS technology “is there for maybe 60% of carbon capture right now. The other 40% we still need to innovate.
“It’s still not economically viable, whatever you do from a subsidy standpoint – so part of the job for us as industry is to continue to get those solutions to scale and continue to optimise.”
$50bn spend in 2023
Also at the conference was Ahmed Alkhunaini, CEO of Aramco Overseas; a subsidiary of the oil giant Saudi Aramco.
He noted that Aramco plans to spend $50bn in 2023 on capital investment which will be “transformational” for its supply chain, as he invited Aberdeen and UK firms to engage,
CCS, again, was front and centre.
“We will be placing far greater focus on the use of more sustainable materials such as those based on polymers in an attempt to compensate for high emissions and hard to abate industries like steel aluminum and concrete, and thus introducing great opportunity for innovators in these areas.
“Successful material transition is essential for meeting our global net zero emission goals.
“Also, focus on carbon capture utilisation and storage technologies and projects are important to us for our net zero emissions”.
“Those suppliers who will contribute to these circular carbon economies initiatives will certainly be standing out.”