The Energy White Paper—powering our net zero future

The Energy White Paper—powering our net zero future

Energy Law analysis: On 14 December 2020, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published the long awaited Energy White Paper. The White Paper seeks to build on existing policy commitments set out in the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution and the National Infrastructure Strategy and presents a vision of how the UK intends to make the transition to net zero by 2050. BEIS estimates that the measures in the White Paper could reduce emissions across power, industry and buildings by up to 230MtCO2e in the period to 2032 and support up to 220,000 jobs per year by 2030. In this analysis, Michelle Davies, Jean Pascal Boutin and Simon Davies of Eversheds Sutherland consider some of the key measures announced in the White Paper and their expected impact on the energy sector.

What were the key measures announced?

Set within the context of three distinct themes, Energy Transition, Green Recovery from Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Consumer Protection, the Energy White Paper contains a wide raft of proposals and commitments, which are at various stages of development and implementation. Furthermore, a number of these measures are subject to separate consultations/industry calls for evidence or reiterate commitments that had already been announced publicly. Set out below are a selection of the key measures announced, each of which are expected to have a significant impact on the energy sector:

  • renewable power generation: BEIS is targeting 40GW of offshore wind by 2030, including 1GW floating wind, alongside the expansion of other low-cost renewables technologies. This ambitious target is a fourfold increase on 2020 capacity and set to be further supported by the Contract for Difference (CfD) scheme. This reiterates the strategic importance of offshore wind as a renewable technology which can drive deep reductions in carbon emissions at a low cost, although the government is also re-opening the CfD scheme to onshore wind and solar PV generation projects for the

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