“The new decarbonisation goals cannot be met without sufficient investment and good policy-making. These will drive technological advancements across all sectors of our economy” – said Michael Phelan, GridBeyond CEO.
On Thursday 27th June, the UK became the first major economy in the world to legislate on ending its contribution to global warming by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to net-zero by 2050.
The new legally-binding target means that by 2050 the UK has to decrease the emissions of CO2 to levels as near to zero as possible. In the areas that pollution cannot be eliminated completely at the moment, such as aviation, the Government must introduce measures that will offset carbon emissions and balance the levels of GHGs in the atmosphere, for example, through planting trees, or using technology like carbon capture and storage.
Michael Phelan, Chief Executive at GridBeyond (the intelligent energy technology provider supporting grid decarbonisation by managing demand to enable renewable energy integration), commented:
“We applaud parliament for taking global leadership on combating the climate emergency by introducing new legally-binding emission targets. The UK has a long-standing tradition of leading economic growth and advancement across the globe, and we are glad to see the Government is committed to taking the necessary actions to stop the UK’s contribution to global warming and encourage other countries to follow this example.
“GridBeyond is proud to play a part in supporting the UK in its transition towards sustainable, digitalised and carbon-free energy model. By working closely with our partners: industrial and commercial energy users, generators, distributors, transmission and grid operation networks, we deliver the technological solutions and services to achieve the Government’s and the Grid’s vision.
“We call on the Government to ensure the legislative changes are closely followed by the implementation of new environmentally friendly measures and technological solutions that are necessary to achieve the green economy, as even the most progressive law will not achieve its objectives without an effective execution strategy. The decarbonisation goals cannot be met without sufficient investment and good policy-making to drive and encourage technological advancement across all industries and sectors of our economy.”
With the growing popularity of decentralised energy, and now legislation to provide additional impetus, there’s not only an increase in the development of energy technologies but also growing interest in increasing taxation of such products, as they are becoming more popular both at industrial and residential levels.
On the same day that MPs debated the new net-zero emissions target, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) proposed new legislation that would raise VAT for home solar-battery systems from 5% to 20%. If passed, the regulation will affect both prices of solar and battery storage technology for domestic use, while paradoxically the home coal supplies will continue to receive the reduced VAT rate (as reported by The Guardian).
The HMRC proposal comes over four years after the European Court of Justice ruled that energy saving materials should not be covered by the reduced tax rates. Since then, in January last year, the EU published new, more flexible proposals on VAT that opened the possibility for further reforms. The proposals are currently under review as the member countries are looking for unanimous agreement.
Lord Deben, a former Environmental Secretary and Member of the House of Lords, commented on the new law during his speech at the 2019 Business Green Leaders Awards:
“I am so proud that the British Government is the first one to ask the questions: how do we do it [combat climate change], can we do it, when can we do it, and get the answers: yes we have to do it, and we can do it by 2050. Now, when we fixed the date – we need to get on with it and don’t let anyone stop us (…).
“For the members of the house of Lords who got up and said: “We are only 1% of the world’s emission. Why should we do it? I’ll tell you why. Because we caused a lot of it. Proportionally we [the UK] caused more of it than anyone else; we’ve been rich because of it. We need to repay, and we need also to take the moral view that it is our duty, and do it because it’s right.
“We have to learn how to treat our planet properly. When we do that, climate change will become just a memory. But to do that, we have to do it now. So, do it now!”