Electrotechnical manufacturing trade body releases report and pledge from key industry players to drive target, stating legislation alone is not enough.

With a turnover of £12.6bn, including £4.2bn worth of exports, manufacturers and providers of energy infrastructure, technologies and systems carry considerable weight when it comes to driving the agenda for carbon change.

So, when 24 of the largest companies in the sector sign a joint pledge committing to reduce their emissions to net zero by 2050, the industry is likely to take notice. Its trade body, BEAMA, announced the news at the same time as it released its latest report into developing a market for low carbon technologies: Net Zero by Design.

The pledge letter also carries a warning that setting a legislative net zero target is not enough on its own. It also stated that a lack of “stable and effective regulation” has impeded investment in the low carbon sector and called for national leadership to “drive rapid deployment of these technologies”.

Amongst the signatories were Fundamentals Ltd’s MD, Jon Hiscock, who stated: “We’re very pleased to be a part of the commitment to Net Zero and firmly believe that technology is a key enabler for a low carbon future.

Net Zero presents an unprecedented challenge to the industry but also significant growth opportunities for the many SMEs who are developing solutions (including Fundamentals Ltd!). It’s important for the UK to show global leadership in the development of a low carbon economy and we are looking forward to helping that happen.”

The BEAMA Report itself recognises that in order to reach the 2050 target, “there are immediate near-term actions that must, and can, be taken to facilitate net-zero”.  Amongst these are listed ambitious building regulation reform and enforcement and halving energy use in new build by 2030.

Some of the numbers quoted to hit the target include the installation of 17 million heat pumps with the same number of house retrofits for insulation measures – the latter by 2030; five million homes connected to low carbon heat networks by 2050 and £2-3bn per year required to upgrade the electricity network.

Among a raft of recommendations in the report, highlights include:

  • Setting a carbon price for heat and hot water and a long-term trajectory for fuel subsidies
  • Open data to enable local level energy planning, policy design and compliance and enforcement
  • Determine a clear market framework for flexibility as a matter of urgency
  • Open the market to new energy service business models
  • Invest in networks to enable net-zero.
  • Be realistic on reinforcement

Commenting on the scale of the tasks ahead, BEAMA CEO, Dr Howard Porter, commented: “This is a cross party, cross industry, global coordination challenge at an unprecedented level - current markets for renewables and certain low carbon technologies essential for the energy transition, including storage, are struggling to gain the levels of investment needed to radically decarbonise our UK electricity infrastructure, buildings and transport system.  This is a great opportunity to be grasped by UK Government and drive growth in the UK market.”

The report and pledge from BEAMA members follows the news from National Grid in May 2019 that the UK electricity system could be operating an entirely zero-carbon system by 2025.