Development of energy storage technologies holds the key to the UK moving from fossil fuel electricity generation to renewable sources.
Investment must be made in research, demonstration projects and development of next generation low carbon technologies, stated Dr Jenifer Baxter, head of Energy and Environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
The comments were in response to the National Audit Office briefing for the Environmental Audit Committee on UK government policy to adapt to climate change.
“For the UK to meet its ambitious carbon reduction target we cannot rely on current renewable technologies alone,” said Baxter.
“Greater investment in the development of electricity storage technologies in particular could be key to allowing a greater proportion of electricity to be generated from renewable sources.
“We need to invest into research and development of the next generation of low carbon technologies, which could include Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), and improved technologies around transport and heat.
“If we want to meet the UK’s stretching carbon targets, at the same time as having a secure electricity system, we need a diversified energy system and CCS is crucial to this.”
The UK Government also needs to urgently clarify the direction UK energy policies will take to meet electricity demands as well as its ambitious carbon reduction targets, said Baxter.
However, Baxter’s comments come as the country’s new Prime Minster Theresa May abolished the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The department was charged with securing, clean, affordable energy supply in the UK.
Government plans to phase out coal-fired generation, and with just one nuclear reactor intended, the UK looks set to experience a new dash for gas, claims Baxter.
She said: “Without CCS technology this could mean we are locking ourselves into relying on unabated fossil fuel power for generations to come.”