Bridges and Bottlenecks is the latest podcast series by Energy Voice Out Loud in partnership with DNV. Each episode looks to address the hard-hitting issues within the energy transition. Technology exists that will be the bridge to take us there, but there are still a number of bottlenecks that stand in the way of progress.
In the first episode of Brides and Bottlenecks, host Ryan Duff, reporter for Energy Voice, is joined by DNV’s Head of Department for Markets & Risk, Viken Chinien, and EIC’s chief executive, Stuart Broadley.
The three dived into a discussion on the UK’s net zero goals and the mounting evidence that the country will not meet its legally binding targets for carbon emissions reductions.
The DNV UK Energy Transition Outlook predicts the UK is not on track to achieve Net Zero and EIC’s Survive and Thrive report highlighted the same conclusion earlier in the year.
Viken Chinien kicks off by setting the scene: “Last year, we released our UK energy transition outlook where we provided a single best estimate forecast of the energy future for the UK up to 2050. And our analysis within that report has shown that the UK will not meet its legally binding 2050 Net Zero target.
“Our forecast shows that emissions in 2050 will be around 110 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent, which implies a significant 85% reduction relative to 1990 levels, but not 100% that we legislated for in 2019.”
We hear policymakers speaking about the pathway to net zero and there is often confidence shown in the prospect of achieving goals set to slash emissions. However, Stuart Broadly suggested the lawmakers might be off the mark.
Relating to the findings of the Survive and Thrive report, Mr Broadley said: “What it’s showing us is that there’s a widening gap between the ambition set by policymakers around net zero, and what industry is actually doing to bring that to reality.
“I think there is an unfortunate belief that it is industry that is kind of turning its eye away from net zero and that’s not what we’re seeing.
“The industry is still excited at the economic opportunity of net zero, but also philosophically believe it is the right thing to do and would like to participate in renewables and net zero and transition technologies as quickly as possible.”
A call was made by the three on this episode of Bridges and Bottlenecks for policymakers to raise their hands and face the facts, net zero isn’t as close as it needs to be and something needs to be done about it.
DNV’s Mr Chinien added that firms have their hands tied when there is a “lack of policy clarity and policy certainty that businesses need to be able to invest and make plans for the future in the knowledge that you get policy which will not suddenly change from one day to the next.”
He added: “If you want to deliver net zero by 2050, you really need to move from an incremental, transformational approach, to the energy transition and provide more support for low carbon technologies in order to shape the UK energy system.”
The issues encountered by energy firms in green technologies are “global” explained Mr Broadley, The UK is not alone when it comes to hurdles such as inflation, competition for work and the lucrative market that is oil and gas.
However, if policymakers set clear goals, informed by industry data, and stick to them while affording a stable climate for investment, the UK and the rest of the world can look to move more quickly towards a greener energy system.