Energy Policies of IEA Countries: United Kingdom 2019 Review

The United Kingdom is a global leader in decarbonisation, both in terms of actual emissions reductions and ambitions set out in five-year carbon budgets. The carbon price floor has supported coal-to-gas switching which, combined with a record investment in offshore wind and solar PV, is transforming the UK power sector. By 2030, wind and solar are expected to reach above 50%, more than in any other country. Solutions for flexible electricity markets and technologies need to be scaled up. Coal and nuclear power capacity is going to retire and new nuclear faces a weak outlook, the contribution of natural gas to meet peak demand is likely to increase. The United Kingdom has been able to stabilise production from the North Sea. Given its long term decline, however, oil and gas imports are critical. Maintaining open energy trade with the Continent and the world has to remain a top priority. The UK Clean Growth Strategy puts energy technology and innovation at the centre of its decarbonisation policy. The IEA underlines that the country’s offshore expertise is a strong basis for innovative technologies, such as carbon capture, utilisation and storage, and also hydrogen, along with improving energy efficiency. In this report, the IEA provides recommendations to help the country guide the transformation of the UK energy sector and to meet its ambitious targets.