The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has cited the UK as the most successful major economy in the world at driving down emissions, by around 50% since 1990, whilst continuing to grow. This progress has been driven by a series of policy and regulatory interventions, including the Electricity Market Reforms under the Coalition Government, and the ‘RIIO’ (Revenue = Incentives + Innovation + Outputs) network price control framework from the national regulator, Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem). These interventions have helped decarbonise the power system, whilst maintaining security of supply, keeping energy bills down, securing investment and creating green jobs. Whilst it is clear that these reforms have been successful in delivering on their overall objectives, they were never designed to deliver a fully decarbonised power system to enable a net-zero economy and harder challenges remain as we continue the journey towards net zero.
With the UK’s more recent commitment to becoming a net zero country by 2050 and the international COP26 climate summit on the horizon, we take this opportunity to reflect on this progress and lessons learned in the sector since 2008. Our new report is intended as a useful tool for any country embarking on its decarbonisation journey and willing learn from the UK’s experiences – good and bad – on its path to net zero to date. Co-authored in partnership with energy supplier SSE, our energy experts have determined the golden principles that can form the basis of a decarbonisation blueprint for other nations to build from.