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Streamline planning processes to lead energy transition says new research

Posted on 22 June 2022

Streamline planning processes to lead energy transition says new research

Streamline planning processes to lead energy transition says new research

NEW research from transatlantic law firm Womble Bond Dickinson and leading energy consultancy Cornwall Insight launches today. The research into the UK’s energy transition highlights that despite the UK having a head start, several challenges must be overcome for the UK to meet its net zero targets, never mind lead the charge.

Law firm Womble Bond Dickinson worked with Cornwall Insight and global industry experts to produce the report The UK and the energy transition: Leading the way? The research offers global context, analysis of different energy markets and expert insights which shine a light on the UK’s progress in the energy transition.

The analysis of different markets which includes solar PV, onshore wind, offshore wind, hydrogen, carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), and the consideration of colocation and storage, all highlight that simplifying planning processes among other measures are instrumental to transition to a low carbon, equitable, and secure energy system. Various energy-related policies that are under review as a result of the UK government’s recent Energy Security Strategy are explored in the report.

The UK and the energy transition: Leading the way? also draws on lessons from around the globe and offers international insight into progress, showing that the UK is well placed to play a key role in global efforts to reduce carbon emissions over coming decades.

Advantages identified in the report that can be capitalised upon if challenges are addressed include: boasting a strong reputation as a friendly environment for energy and infrastructure investment, thanks to the UK’s robust rule of law and the transparency of its legal system, a geographical location that supports offshore (including floating) wind and ambitious domestic climate targets.

Not only does the new research highlight the opportunity the energy transition presents for the UK on a global stage, but it also brings to the fore the domestic economic and job opportunities associated with on-shoring the supply-chain for renewable energy developments. At a time when the 'cost of living crisis’ is hitting consumers and businesses alike, it is clear that excessively relying on an international supply chain (where costs are rising) could become a barrier to energy transition progress.

Richard Cockburn, Head of Energy at Womble Bond Dickinson, said: “Throughout the research period for this report, new variables continued to be thrown into the mix. The impact of the invasion of Ukraine, gas supply concerns and new legislation and political strategies were just some of the developments, which are typical of the pace at which the energy landscape changes. It’s tricky making decisions in an environment which is constantly in flux – which is why this data and insight will hopefully be invaluable for a market currently in a period of change.

“The report takes a global view, and the research has made it increasingly clear that the journey to net zero must be a collaborative one. Whilst the UK is well placed to take the lead in many areas of transition, the right policies need to be in place to make this a reality.

“The UK is a world leader in areas such as offshore wind - where the UK successfully ran its Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4 and its ScotWind process, which together could create up to an additional 33GW of offshore wind capacity.”

After years of delay, we are also now forging ahead in carbon capture & storage and hydrogen, but we can still learn much from countries worldwide as the energy transition accelerates.”

Dan Atzori, Research Partner at Cornwall Insight, added: “This research should give industry and government a better understanding of the main opportunities and challenges facing the UK when it comes to decarbonising our energy system. Our research is designed to bring new insight to industry, help leaders to collaborate and connect and share valuable global data that shines a light on key global lessons and trends.”

The UK and the energy transition: Leading the way? includes quotes from interviews with experts at DNV, EDF Energy, Oxford Institute of Energy Studies, Lightsourcebp, ABN Amro, Greencoat Capital, NECCUS, Abundance Investment, Global Infrastructure Investor Association, Statkraft and others.