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Innovations Zero     The International Clean Tech Congress
 

 

Innovation & leadership in the low carbon transformation
OLYMPIA LONDON | 24-25 MAY, 2023

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06 Mar 2023

An Interview with the National Infrastructure Commission's Nick Winser CBE

An Interview with the National Infrastructure Commission's Nick Winser CBE

Ahead of Innovation Zero's "Decarbonising Energy Use" session at the Industrial Forum, May 24, we spoke with Nick Winser CBE, Commissioner for the National Infrastructure Commission, who shared his views on the net zero transition.

How important is an event like Innovation Zero to help accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon economy?

"Bodies like the Commission need to be out there talking to stakeholders in every part of the energy supply chain, helping to build a broad consensus around how we best meet this toughest of challenges. Conferences like Innovation Zero offer an invaluable market place to hear about innovative solutions and approaches to the challenges of decarbonisation."
 

"Heating is probably the toughest test of the decarbonisation agenda, and in coming years government will need to make big strategic decisions on how to get consumers and businesses to switch to new heating technologies in a way that is as painless as possible."
 

How do you currently see the UK leading that change?

"The government has already committed to supporting by 2035 a decarbonised power system, subject to security of supply, and the recent creation of a dedicated Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has underlined that commitment further. But world leading ambitions have to be backed up with action, and crucially a stable policy environment that locks in international investment and removes some of the barriers to deploying new technologies."

What is the National Infrastructure Commission currently doing to progress its journey towards net-zero?

"Helping the UK reach net zero shapes a great deal of the work across each of the sectors under the Commission’s remit. In autumn 2023, we’ll publish the UK’s second National Infrastructure Assessment; in it, we will make a series of recommendations on – among other things - decarbonising electricity generation by 2035, making the transition to low carbon heating, and identifying the infrastructure networks needed to support the country’s future hydrogen and carbon capture & storage needs. In doing so, our goal is to help government build on the solid foundations already laid and ensure the country has the best chance to fully achieve its net zero goals."
 

"...world leading ambitions have to be backed up with action, and crucially a stable policy environment that locks in international investment and removes some of the barriers to deploying new technologies."
 

What policy priorities do you see as critical to enable your sector and clients to grasp the opportunity presented by the low carbon transition?

"While the renewable energy generation continues to expand, we will need to ensure that the transmission network is upgraded in parallel so that the electricity generated by renewables can reach consumers. This is an enormous task which will require billions of pounds of investment, and government needs to ensure that these projects are not delayed. The decarbonisation of heating is also lagging behind, as too are efforts to improve the energy efficiency of the UK’s building stock. With heating responsible for 17 per cent of the UK’s emissions, this will need to change. Heating is probably the toughest test of the decarbonisation agenda, and in coming years government will need to make big strategic decisions on how to get consumers and businesses to switch to new heating technologies in a way that is as painless as possible."

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