Britain Remade sets out roadmap for Britain to be energy secure by 2030
- Unlock 70GW of renewable power by 2030 by speeding up the delivery of both onshore and offshore wind as well as utility-scale solar farms.
- Establish new Clean Power Zones to fast-tracked planning approval for new clean energy projects. Cut the amount of time it takes to build an offshore wind farm from 12 to 5.5 years and bring grid investment forward by at least three years.
- Speed up the rollout of Small Modular Reactors with two completed and generating power by 2030.
A major new report, that has attracted support from leading figures in Labour and the Conservatives, will be launched later today by pro-growth campaign group Britain Remade. The report will set out a clear roadmap for how Britain can cut its dependence on volatile international gas markets and be energy secure by 2030.
The Powerbook report will be launched at the Octopus Energy headquarters alongside Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change and Net Zero, Ed Miliband, and offers a number of major reforms, including fast-tracking clean energy projects within designated zones, speeding up the deployment of Small Modular Reactors by streamlining the regulatory approval process and ending the ban on onshore wind in England.
The measures, which are backed by industry, would cut carbon dioxide emissions by 40 million tonnes a year, the equivalent of taking 31million cars off the road. There are currently 33.2 million cars on the road in the UK.
To become energy secure by 2030, Britain will need to unlock an additional 70GW of renewable power in less than seven years, on top of the 40GW already available.
This will mean the time it takes to build a new offshore wind farm will need to be slashed to just five years, it will need to take just four and a half years to get new onshore wind turbines up and running and large solar farms will have to go from idea to generating power in just 15 months.
With the vast majority of Britain’s renewable energy infrastructure being built outside the South East, speeding up these major projects will also unleash tens of thousands of jobs in Britain’s former industrial heartlands in the north and the Midlands.
In order to deliver the ambitious plans, Britain Remade is proposing a major update to the planning system to reduce the amount of unnecessary paperwork and red tape which is holding back more sources of energy being built.
One of the ways this will be achieved will be through the creation of new Clean Power Zones across the country.
The new zones, modelled on policies already in place in Spain, would provide fast-tracked planning approval for new clean energy projects by eliminating environmental impact assessments in all but exceptional cases for all onshore wind, up to 75MW, and solar projects of 150MWs and under.
So that fleets of new Small Modular Reactors can be built as quickly as possible a list of sites where they can be built should be urgently drawn up by Great British Nuclear. This should include all existing licensed nuclear sites as well as all former coal powered power stations. Britain Remade wants to see at least two SMRs connected to the grid with more under construction in less than seven years.
Under current rules it can take up to 13 years for an offshore wind farm to progress through the planning system and start generating power, despite construction of the turbines only taking two to three years. Just last month the government announced a five-month delay to the Hornsea Four offshore wind farm. In development since 2018 the project has the potential to power two million homes with clean energy.
Research carried out by Britain Remade found that the environmental impact assessment for the East Anglia Two offshore wind farm, which will provide 800,000 homes with clean renewable energy, ran to 10,961 pages.
While the 2020 planning application for Sizewell C ballooned to contain over 4,000 documents, with the environmental statement for the new nuclear power station alone stretching to over 44,260 pages - almost 13,000 pages longer than Hinkley Point C’s.
Along with planning reform, a key part of the Britain Remade plan is to end the ban on new onshore wind developments in England so that at least 20GW of onshore wind generation can be installed by 2030.
This should be done by removing the requirement for unanimous support for a planning application and replacing it with a Community Safeguard. This would allow projects to go ahead, unless a majority of local residents actively oppose it.
So that those who live nearest to an onshore wind farm benefit the most, the report calls for Energy companies to be able to give households that are closest to a turbine development discounts on their energy bills.
To push forward a rooftop revolution for solar panels, rules should be changed so that planning permission is no longer needed to install the panels on commercial and residential rooftops outside of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or Conservation Areas.
For large utility-scale solar farms, the time it takes get them up and running should be cut to just 15 months, so that at least 40GW of solar energy generation can be connected to the grid by the end of the decade.
Sam Richards, Founder and Campaign Director for Britain Remade, said:
“Britain’s byzantine planning system is simply not built to deliver the clean energy revolution our country needs.
“By speeding up the delivery of clean energy projects Britain will be energy secure by 2030, meaning we will no longer be reliant on expensive foreign gas, households will benefit from cheaper bills and tens of thousands of good quality jobs will be created across the country.
“But we cannot unleash the full potential of clean energy and enjoy the benefits until we reform our outdated planning system.
“The measures we’ve outlined would not only put rocket boosters under the delivery of new clean energy developments across Britain, but people that live near new energy infrastructure the benefit of lower bills- all while significantly boosting nature.
“Britain is the country that gave birth to the Industrial Revolution, split the atom and turned on the first commercial nuclear power station. There is no reason why we cannot be a clean energy superpower.”