Environment, energy and sustainability

The Electricity Generating Landscape in Great Britain

This briefing for the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee provides an overview of the key features of the policy and regulatory framework for electricity generation, and the nature of the transition required over the next 10 years to meet emissions reduction and renewable energy targets.

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Summary

The National Audit Office has compiled this briefing for the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee. It provides a brief outline description of key features of the policy and regulatory framework for electricity generation and the nature of the transition required over the next 10 years to meet carbon reduction and renewable energy targets. To meet the statutory carbon budget, to reduce carbon emissions by 34 per cent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels, the last government expected the power and heavy industry sector to cut its emissions by 20 per cent by 2020. In order to meet the legally binding obligation established under the EU Renewable Energy Directive 2009 for renewable energy to account for 15 per cent of energy in 2020, there will have to be a sevenfold increase in renewable energy generation compared to 2008 levels.

  • Part 1 describes the current market system for the generation and supply of electricity including the regulatory and policy framework. It also sets out the nature of the transition required over the next 10 years in order to meet the 2020 targets for carbon reductions and renewable energy.
  • Part 2 highlights the various risks involved in the current system, the transition to a low carbon generating system, and the operation of a low carbon system.
  • References to key documentation on which this briefing is based are set out in the annex.

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