Engineering firm disputes claims of progress in CCC report

The UK would need to increase the amount of new electricity generation built each year five-fold to meet its net zero targets, according to an engineering firm.

The analysis by Atkins contradicts the independent Climate Change Committee’s (CCC) report – released yesterday – which said the UK was on track to achieve net zero targets for energy generation.

Chris Ball, managing director of nuclear and power for Atkins in Europe and the Middle East, said that unless all forms of energy generation were massively accelerated, the target of decarbonisation by 2035 risks “no longer being a credible ambition”.


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The UK needs to ramp up energy generation to hit net zero targets, Atkins said

According to Atkins’ analysis, the UK would need to build 12-16GW of new capacity each year to hit decarbonisation targets – the equivalent of building Ireland’s entire energy system each year.

The average annual build rate for the past five years was just 3.2GW, while the highest ever recorded in the UK, in 2017, was 6.5GW.

While the CCC’s 2022 Progress Report praised the government’s deployment renewable energy, it found “major failings” across many of its other delivery programmes for achieving the UK’s climate goals.

The 600-page report found “scant evidence of delivery” on many of the government’s targets for Net Zero, with CCC chairman Lord Deben saying that “holes must be plugged in its strategy urgently”.

Among its criticisms was the “shocking gap in policy” on retrofit for UK homes, with the report noting that promised investment and new policies on the matter had failed to materialise.

>>> Government slammed for ‘shocking’ failure on retrofit

>>> Industry leaders attack lack of retrofit focus in ‘supply-side’ energy strategy

Climate solutions charity Ashden responded to the report by calling for investment in skills to retrofit UK homes and for the implementation of a national retrofit strategy, as set out by the Construction Industry Training Board.

“The CCC is right to identify a shocking lack of progress on home insulation. But in places, the truth is even worse than this report suggests,” said Cara Jenkinson, the charity’s cities manager.

She continued: “The report suggests that plans to help local authorities lead home upgrades are broadly on track. In reality, existing council schemes aimed at the fuel poor need to ramp up massively – but we have few skilled installers and no national skills plan.”