Mission Zero, the review into the UK’s approach to reaching net zero by 2050, provides a welcome pathway for how the UK can achieve its legally-binding climate targets. It has never been clearer that the economy and climate change are inextricably intertwined – the only future economy is a green one.
Former energy minister Chris Skidmore’s report details 129 recommendations – ranging from increased solar capacity to switching to gas-free homes – that can catalyse efforts to cut emissions.
But despite being so wide-ranging and hitting the mark in many ways, it is striking how few references to battery energy storage there are. The report focuses on investment in renewable sources, but overlooks the fundamental importance of energy storage in managing capacity. This needs to be a critical part of the discussion.
Energy storage addresses supply-demand imbalances on the national grid, in real time, and yet there is currently less than 2GW of battery storage on the grid, compared with nearly 53GW of renewable capacity. In order to deliver 70GW of UK solar generation by 2035, we need the storage infrastructure to maximise the potential of our renewable capacity.
On the plus side, the report identifies the importance of biodiversity and outlines a clear need to deliver accurate monitoring of carbon across a broad range of ecosystems. As COP15 demonstrated, nature and biodiversity targets are now firmly on the global agenda. The team here is trialling methods of biodiversity data collection in our forestry assets to properly understand how it changes over time. However, there is still much to be done on the provision of biodiversity data and a pressing need to educate the market on what it means and how to use it.
See also: – Green Dream with Gresham House’s Hughes: Balancing timber production with natural plantation
It is no surprise that we need to make the built environment sustainable and more energy efficient. Getting legislation on the books by 2025 requiring a minimum energy efficiency rating of EPC B for all non-domestic buildings, both rented and owned, by 2030 is ambitious but doable.
The Gresham House Residential Secure Income LP partnership with ilke Homes to provide zero-carbon homes is an example of the types of initiatives needed to get to UK housing to net zero.
It is just the beginning in terms of innovative technologies emerging to help make the built environment more sustainable and we intend to be at the forefront of that journey.
The UK has shown strong leadership on tackling climate change and delivered real change so far. Mission Zero shows we are headed in the right direction, but there is still much to do. We need to keep challenging inertia and driving forwards to demonstrate that tomorrow’s economy is built today.