Infrastructure delivers power and heat to homes and businesses and underpins how we dispose of and recycle waste.
It is a period of huge change for electricity generators, utility companies and those who manage the connections between them. Currently, 30 per cent of UK greenhouse gas emissions come from generating electricity supply and heat for buildings. The growth of renewable electricity sources and the need to upgrade our networks to enable decarbonisation are historic shifts which present both challenges and opportunities for the sectors involved.
The Commission advises government on how to best support and regulate those sectors to deliver the changes necessary for meeting the UK’s net zero goals.
With this in mind, we conduct a range of work exploring the role that low carbon energy infrastructure can play in delivering the net zero goal. This includes investigating how innovative technologies might help enable the phasing out of fossil fuels for UK power and heating without increasing costs for households over the long term, and ensure a stable electricity supply as our reliance on renewable generation grows.
Generating energy from waste plants (incinerators) helped the move away from landfill and makes sense when the alternative is power from fossil fuels. But the UK could save £6.2 billion by 2050 and avoid the need to build 20 new incinerators by achieving higher recycling rates.
We therefore seek to inform decision making to create a more circular economy, supporting significantly higher recycling rates for municipal and industrial waste and ensuring that the processes used for disposing of remaining waste help meet wider environmental policy goals.
Maintaining operability of highly renewable electricity system possible at little additional cost
Concerns about operating the electricity networks when there are high levels of renewables generation can be overcome without significant costs to the consumer through effective deployment of existing and emerging technologies, according to analysis from the National Infrastructure Commission. The existing electricity network was designed around generation from coal, nuclear and gas-powered generation. Increasing the...
Learning the lessons for a highly renewable future
The last few months have been a busy time for UK energy policy. The government published its long awaited Energy White Paper, The Climate Change Committee produced its 1,000 pages of advice to the government on the level of the next carbon budget, and HM Treasury published its interim report on the costs of the...
Research into renewable electricity systems – Baringa
Operability of highly renewable electricity systems
Plans of action needed next to deliver strategic goals, says Commission
Detailed plans for decarbonising energy supply, accelerating the roll out of electric vehicle charge points and connecting hard to reach areas with high capacity broadband are among the next steps needed to ensure government can deliver its aims for levelling up and meeting the net zero target, according to the National Infrastructure Commission. The Commission’s...
Characterising adverse weather for the UK electricity system
“A vital step and important signal”: Armitt responds to government plans for ‘green industrial revolution’
Responding to today’s announcement by the Prime Minister on government plans for a ‘green industrial revolution’, Sir John Armitt, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, said: “A 2030 deadline for the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans is a vital step to help the UK meet our net zero target. It’s an...
James Heath: Getting the evidence in place for key decisions on low carbon heat
James Heath, Chief Executive of the National Infrastructure Commission, addressed Utility Week’s ‘Build Back Better’ Forum today (21 October 2020). His speech explored the policy decisions and investment needed to harness the full potential of low carbon heat, setting out the range of evidence that will be required to ensure effective decisions to address the...
Falling cost of renewables strengthens case for accelerating deployment
New research carried out for the National Infrastructure Commission shows how sharp falls in the cost of renewable generation mean that Britain should aim for renewables to meet two thirds of electricity needs by 2030 and that this can be delivered at the same overall cost as meeting only half of total demand by that...
Armitt: “Build Build Build” plans need to lock in environmental gains with long term strategy
Responding to today’s speech (‘Build Build Build’, 30 June 2020) by the Prime Minister, Sir John Armitt, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, said: “Building back better, greener and faster are welcome ambitions and it is critical that we take immediate steps to secure jobs and build confidence across supply chains. “Opportunities remain to accelerate...