National Infrastructure Commission sets out recommendations for the government to deliver net-zero goal.

The UK should be running on 50% renewable energy by 2030 to set it on a cost-effective path to the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, according to a report by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC).

The NIC, which provides the government with advice on infrastructure challenges, said in its ‘Net Zero: opportunities for the power sector’ report that modelling shows a highly renewable power system, combined with flexible technologies including hydrogen-powered generation, could be substantially cheaper than alternatives that rely heavily on a fleet of nuclear power plants.

“A renewables-based system looks like a safer bet at present than constructing multiple new nuclear plants,” the report said.

It added that an energy system that is highly based on renewables is still a low-cost option in a net-zero world.

NIC said its analysis finds that electricity system costs are broadly flat across a range of different levels of renewable penetrations, and could be even lower if hydrogen is deployed.

RenewableUK director of future electricity systems Barnaby Wharton said: “This report highlights the central role that low-cost wind will play in the UK’s clean energy system in the decades ahead, so that consumers reap the full benefits of cheap electricity, as well as the importance of developing new technologies like renewable hydrogen, wave and tidal power.

“The NIC is right to urge the government to continue with the positive progress they’ve made so far and to be ambitious in its vision to reach net-zero emissions using a wide range of clean sources.”