London — State investment of GBP150 billion ($193 billion) would be undertaken by a UK Labour government under a fast-track net zero CO2 emission plan published Thursday.
Labour is the UK's main opposition party. There is growing speculation an election might be imminent after Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative government, which does not command a parliamentary majority, lost a key vote earlier this week on the Brexit process. Johnson has said he will seek an election if he cannot get his Brexit deal passed by October 31.
A survey of polls done by the BBC October 21 showed average party support of 36% for the Conservatives, 24% for Labour, 18% for the Liberal Democrats and 12% for the Brexit Party.
Some 30 recommendations, put together by a team of independent experts, urge an immediate, vast expansion of offshore and onshore wind and solar, and all new buildings to be net zero carbon from 2020.
It promotes significant investment into marine energy, low carbon hydrogen and carbon capture for industry through the 2020s, while accelerating reductions in coal- and natural gas-fired generation.
"If these recommendations are implemented immediately, the UK can be on track to deliver a 77% reduction in energy emissions by 2030 compared to 2010 levels," the report said.
Four key goals by 2030 are identified in the plan: reduce heat demand by 20% and electricity demand by 11%; increase supply of renewable and low carbon heat to 50%; increase supply of renewable and low carbon electricity to 90%; and balance supply and demand.
Government spend to deliver the plan is estimated at GBP150 billion between 2020 and 2030, supporting a seven-fold (52 GW) increase in offshore wind capacity, and a 3.5 times increase (30 GW) in onshore wind capacity.
Solar capacity would almost triple to 35 GW, while tidal energy would grow to 3 GW.
A huge conversion program of existing buildings using natural gas for heat would see 8 million heat pumps installed, while "quick-win" heating solutions would see "the complete removal of all coal and oil heating" by 2030, and introduction of biomethane injection into the gasgrid, solar hot water and use of waste heat via district heating in urban areas.
Coal-fired generation would be phased out "as soon as possible" (the current deadline is 2025), while gas-fired generation would be slashed from 130 TWh today to 36 TWh in 2030 - a 72% reduction.
There would be an immediate end to fracking for gas, and no generation from oil by 2022.
"The only form of fossil fuel use permitted, whether for power generation or production of hydrogen, should be that coupled with 100% carbon capture and storage, meaning no GHGs are emitted to the atmosphere at any point," the report said.
The study does not focus on transport energy, but the authors assume 25 million electric vehicles will be on UK roads by 2030, close toLabour's current policy for 21.5 million.
-- Henry Edwardes-Evans, Henry.Edwardes-Evans@spglobal.com
-- Edited by Jonathan Dart, firstname.lastname@example.org