The UK government regards climate Change as a global market failure. In response, it has set strict emission reduction targets. Although the UK is on target to reduce its greenhouse emissions in 2020 by 34% on 1990 levels, in line with carbon budgets and the EU's target, the longer term goals are more challenging.
Back in 2008, the Climate Change Act set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. The electricity system needs to be substantially decarbonised through the 2020s, particularly if it is to play its part in decarbonising the heat and transport sectors in the 2030s and beyond. The Committee on Climate Change in its analyis suggested the need for 30-40GW of low-carbon capacity to be built during the 2020s to replace ageing capacity and meet demand growth. The main focus of the the resultant Impact Assessment is to set out the analysis of the impacts of introducing an EPS against a do nothing option.
Going, going, almost gone
The Energy Bill, which received Royal Assent in December 2013 includes provisions for decarbonisation, including the setting of a 2030 decarbonisation target range for the electricity sector, which is due to take place in 2016. One of the most visible signs of the commitment to decarbonisation was the demolition in July 2014 of the three cooling towers at Didcot Power Station A in Oxfordshire. The photograph captures the collapse of the towers. The three remaining cooling towers and large chimney are due for demolition no later than 2016.
Further details of the UK government's assessment of impacts from the Energy Bill can be found in the Energy Performance Standard impact assessment from where the information in this article has been taken.