Energy & Net Zero

New renewable energy infrastructure is central to delivering a low cost, zero carbon future.

Updated:

Solar panels on a field

Summary

Infrastructure delivers power and heat to homes and businesses.

Our current energy system, which is still largely based on fossil fuels like natural gas, contributes to climate change. In 2021, around 30 per cent of UK greenhouse gas emissions come from generating electricity and heating buildings.
Switching to renewable electricity sources, upgrading electricity networks to support increased electrification, deploying charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, and changing the way we heat our homes are historic shifts. They present both challenges and opportunities for government and industry.
The Commission advises government on how to best support and regulate the energy sector to deliver the changes necessary for meeting the UK’s net zero goals.
The Commission has an objective to support the transition to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Reaching this target was one of the three strategic themes that shaped the Commission’s work in the Second National Infrastructure Assessment.
The second Assessment makes a series of recommendations in response to four key challenges in energy and reaching net zero:

  • the further decarbonisation of the electricity system
  • creating a viable path for heat decarbonisation
  • enabling the rapid rollout of electric vehicles
  • funding and delivering the new networks needed for hydrogen and carbon capture and storage.

Energy & net zero data

A range of energy and net zero related datasets is available to review on our Data pages. This includes data sets used in Commission reports, as well as historic data sets. Each can be reviewed online or downloaded. 

Review data

Latest Updates

Commission to explore capability of local electricity grid to support renewables push
electricity substation

Commission to explore capability of local electricity grid to support renewables push

Ensuring that the network connecting homes and businesses to the electricity supply can cope with the demands of a fully electric-powered economy will be the focus of a new piece of work by the National Infrastructure Commission. The government has today (27 February) published the terms of reference for the study, which asks the Commission...

27 Feb 2024 By
Electricity distribution network
A UK electricity substation with workers

Electricity distribution network

A study exploring how the local distribution of electricity can best support the UK's net zero energy goals

27 Feb 2024
Cost effective delivery of infrastructure projects
New motorway junction being built

Cost effective delivery of infrastructure projects

Project exploring how the UK can build economic infrastructure more quickly and cheaply, and compare favourably with its international peers.

24 Jan 2024
Armitt: Hydrogen plans must proceed “at pace”
Hydrogen atoms

Armitt: Hydrogen plans must proceed “at pace”

The government has this morning (14 Dec) announced plans for eleven new projects for hydrogen production in the UK, alongside updates to its existing strategy for the development of the hydrogen manufacturing in the UK. The eleven projects will see the government invest around £400m over three years in projects producing ‘green’ hydrogen, as part...

14 Dec 2023 By
“No time to lose” on planning reforms, says Commission
T-pylons under construction

“No time to lose” on planning reforms, says Commission

Today’s Autumn Statement includes announcements on steps to speed up the planning system for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs). Some of these steps are informed by the work of the National Infrastructure Commission, and related work by Nick Winser, the government’s Electricity Networks Commissioner (and also a National Infrastructure Commissioner). Responding to today’s announcements, Sir...

22 Nov 2023 By
Impact and costings for recommendations in the Second National Infrastructure Assessment
Leeds urban transport

Impact and costings for recommendations in the Second National Infrastructure Assessment

25 Oct 2023
Long term review sets out pressing need to modernise infrastructure to support economic growth and climate action
Scout Moor windarm and the Naden Reservoirs near Rochdale

Long term review sets out pressing need to modernise infrastructure to support economic growth and climate action

Improved infrastructure to boost economic growth across the UK and meet climate goals is both achievable and affordable if the right policy steps are taken now, according to the government’s independent advisers on infrastructure strategy. The Second National Infrastructure Assessment – a five yearly review conducted by the National Infrastructure Commission – sets out a...

18 Oct 2023 By
Ricardo – Waste infrastructure technology mix
Close up of a pile of waste plastic

Ricardo – Waste infrastructure technology mix

18 Oct 2023
Thinks Insight & Strategy – Social research
blurred Large crowd of people

Thinks Insight & Strategy – Social research

18 Oct 2023
Arup – Future of Great Britain’s gas network
Man turning on a British Combi Gas Boiler

Arup – Future of Great Britain’s gas network

18 Oct 2023
Technical annex – Hydrogen heating
Woman and child wearing colorful pair of woolly socks warming cold feet in front of heating radiator in winter time. Electric or gas heater at home.

Technical annex – Hydrogen heating

How the Commission arrived at its recommendation that government should not support the rollout of hydrogen heating.

18 Oct 2023
Second National Infrastructure Assessment
Scout Moor windarm and the Naden Reservoirs near Rochdale

Second National Infrastructure Assessment

The Commission's thirty year plan for a low carbon and resilient UK economy that supports economic growth and protects the natural environment

18 Oct 2023
National Infrastructure Assessment
View of Manchester city centre

National Infrastructure Assessment

An analysis of the UK’s long term economic infrastructure needs, outlining a strategic vision over the next thirty years.

18 Oct 2023
Winser report on energy networks offers plan for necessary transformation
A wind turbine and electricity pylon

Winser report on energy networks offers plan for necessary transformation

An independent report by Nick Winser, in his capacity as government’s inaugural Electricity Networks Commissioner, has been published today (4 August 2023). The report sets out recommendations for accelerating the rollout of electricity transmission infrastructure, which will be crucial to moving electricity generated from renewable sources to the places that need it. Nick’s report includes...

4 Aug 2023 By

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