UK and its energy future

We don’t know if UK’s energy system will be dominated in 2030 by gas, coal with carbon capture and storage or many more solar parks and wind farms.

The European Commission proposed in January that the EU should cut its emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. It also suggested the EU should aim to get 27 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. But many member states disagree with these goals.

The UK’s position, for instance has evolved radically since January. At first it said it wanted a more ambitious emissions reduction target of 50 per cent and was bitterly opposed to any renewable energy targets.

Then, in March, the UK relented and said it could support a renewables target as long as it wasn’t binding on member states. The compromise was part of a deal reached among 13 member including the UK, Germany and France.

Meanwhile EU heads of state are agreed that the Ukraine crisis is a good excuse to increase energy security by reducing reliance on imports of Russian gas. The European Commission is working on an EU energy security plan that will consider this.

Almost a third of EU gas arrives from Russia and half of that is delivered by trans-Ukrainian pipelines. Polish prime minister Donald Tusk says the solution is more coal.

Member states will also discuss how much they are willing to contribute to the overall EU emissions reduction target. Decisions won’t be made until later this year. EU member states have agreed the 2030 package should be sealed by October at the latest. The lack of agreement so far means an early deal is unlikely.