Net Zero Power
Achieving Net Zero in the energy sector requires both the phasing out of fossil fuel-based energy sources and the bolstering of comprehensive, sustainable energy systems. There are strong indicators that the energy system is already headed towards decarbonisation. The cost of renewable electricity generating technologies has fallen sharply over the last decade, while high-potential, decarbonising technologies have become increasingly commercially available and competitive. The decarbonization of electricity will also have important knock-on effects on other sectors including heavy industries and transport. The relatively advanced stage of development of renewable energy, as well as the wider implications for other sectors, suggests that the energy sector should be the first stop in investment for decarbonization, and that, in the long term offsetting energy emissions may be a poor strategy as a part of a larger net zero plan.
Decarbonising our energy systems is an essential early step in not only achieving net zero for the energy sector, but providing greater low-carbon energy solutions to all other heavy-emitting industries.
Existing Efforts to achieve net zero in the Power Sector:
A US based initiative called Majority Action works to hold utilities accountable to Net Zero carbon targets. A description of the initiative reads: “The 20 largest publicly traded electricity generators in the U.S. represent nearly half of the power sector’s carbon emissions, and as the IPCC has shown, decarbonizing electricity is the lynchpin of limiting warming to 1.5 °C and building a sustainable economy. Electric utilities stand to profit significantly from aggressive economy-wide decarbonization, but only three of the top 20 publicly traded utilities have set a net-zero emissions target. Majority Action launched a coalition of leading institutional investors to draw a bright line for these companies: the time to commit to full decarbonization is now.”
The Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks’ ‘A Network for Net Zero’ aims to provide the north of Scotland with an electricity network that can accommodate 10 GW of renewable energy generation and reduce their own emissions on a pathway consistent with Net Zero.