Editorial by Richard Crossick, Public Affairs Manager at Ørsted UK
As I write this, I am preparing to attend the DKUK Offshore Wind Conference this week at the Danish Embassy and preparing my schedule at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, known as COP, in Madrid later on in December.
Dear Members and Readers,
All of which is making me think about the momentous year it has been for renewable energy in the UK, and for climate change globally, and about the year to come.
For the offshore wind industry, it truly has been a year of significant progress. At the start of the year, the industry signed a ‘Sector Deal’ with the UK Government – a series of commitments from Government and industry to work together to increase the size, capability and ambition of the industry over the coming years and a target for a third of all the electricity in the UK to come from offshore wind by 2030. And now as we sit through election in the UK (yes, another one!), it is worth remembering that all the main parties in the election are promising to increase the number of offshore wind farms even further. In a year when auctions for new contracts delivered record-low prices, it really felt like the year that offshore wind became a mainstream technology for the UK.
And this was good timing. Because this was also the year that reminded us why countries such as the UK and Denmark have been putting some much effort, time and money into renewable energy technologies. It was the year that countries around the world began to react to the report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the international team of scientists, economists and other experts – that the world needed to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees, and that we need to halve carbon emissions in the next 10 years to be on a pathway to do this. Here in the UK that meant passing a legal commitment to be ‘net-zero’ by 2050 – that is that the UK will be completely carbon neutral by that date. And to reach that target will take non-stop action and commitment each and every year for the next thirty years. It will take action from individuals and companies in everything we do and in every sector from energy efficiency to transport to construction to retail to finance to industry and manufacturing and beyond. And as well as a challenge it is an opportunity for companies that are looking forward and taking action now to benefit from the changes that are being demanded by consumers and voters.
Next year will be a momentous year for action on global climate change, because the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, ‘COP 26’ will focus on what every country has to do to raise its level of ambition to limit climate change. And that conference is taking place here in the UK, in Glasgow. It will be an exciting year for the renewable energy industry and for everyone whose business is related to climate change – and now that we have this stretching new target to halve carbon emissions in the next decade, that means every business in the UK.
In the meantime I am looking forward to spending the festive season with my family and friends, and I wish you all a fantastic Christmas break.
Richard Crossick is Public Affairs Manager at our highly valued premier member Ørsted UK. Ørsted is the leader in offshore wind in the UK and globally and committed to creating a world that runs entirely on green energy. To find out more about their latest thinking on limiting climate change to 1.5 degrees please visit: www.orsted.com/en/Act-now