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    SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. - Unprecedented build rate required to decarbonise UK’s energy system by 2035


    June 29, 2022 - Canadian Equity Markets (Alternative Disclosure) via PUBT

     

      New build rate analysis finds UK needs to increase new electricity generation built each year five-fold to meet net zero targets and maintain security of supply

      Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, has published new analysis showing that the UK will need to build 12-16GW of new generation capacity each year between now and 2035 to hit decarbonisation targets - the equivalent of building Ireland's entire energy system each year. The engineering firm is warning that the pace of new build and complexity of the challenge means a dash to decarbonise power by 2035 may no longer be a credible ambition for the UK.

      The annual build rate - how much new generation comes online each year - is a useful benchmark to check whether the UK is building enough to maintain security of supply and meet net zero targets. The average rate for the last five years was just 3.2GW/year , - a fifth of the required rate Atkins now estimates is required to replace the 49GW of operational power stations forecast to close by 2035 and build enough supply to meet future energy demand.

      • Up to 16GW of new generation is now required each year, every year, to meet the latest 2035 target.
      • The average build rate for 2017-2021 was 3.2GW.
      • The highest ever annual build rate in the UK was recorded in 2017, with 6.5GWii of gas and renewable generation brought online: less than half of what must now be built each year.
      • To replace ageing power plants and ensure enough generation is built to meet peak demand requirements, the UK needs to build 159GW-203GW of new generating assets by 2035: the equivalent of building the UK's entire energy system twice over in less than 13 years.

      David Cole, Market Director for Net Zero Energy, Atkins, said: "This is an unprecedented build rate to meet an unprecedented challenge: in just over 12 years, we need to build a net zero power system potentially twice the size of the UK's current capacity, including not only generation but also [grid] infrastructure, energy storage and the data management capabilities to facilitate the 'smart grid'. This is an incredibly ambitious target that pushes the boundaries of feasibility. We must review delivery in terms of credible ambition."

      Chris Ball, Managing Director, Nuclear and Power - Europe & Middle East, SNC-Lavalin, said: "The UK needs a clear plan to achieve such a large-scale infrastructure programme. The delivery of such a high volume of projects concurrently, in such a short timeframe, requires coordination: we need to determine what new generating capacity and infrastructure is required at a system level. Creating a blueprint to transition to net zero energy will also require a delicate balance between incentivizing investment in different technologies, protecting consumer interests, and ensuring security of supply: a whole system strategy to deliver net zero energy is vital if we are to achieve the ambitious targets ahead of us and position the UK as a global exporter of energy and technology."

      Engineering Net Zero

      The scale of this transformation, even at a lesser pace, means that every year the UK delays or delivers a reduced rate of new projects, it piles on further pressure and stretches the resources, materials and supply chains required to deliver the immense scale of construction - all of which are in global demand.

      Alongside its build rate analysis, Atkins is reiterating actions that could help speed up the current build rate and achieve a decarbonised electricity system to ensure the delivery of net zero targets and security of supply in the most efficient and cost-effective way for industry and consumers alike.

      1. Review the UK's current generating assets and infrastructure and take urgent action to maximize the potential of life extension and operational performance, alongside demand side management and energy efficiency actions to ensure security of supply and affordability are of equal importance as reaching net zero.
      2. Create a more efficient planning process to accelerate the rate of projects moving to the construction phase, including grid connection efficiency.
      3. Swiftly move to a large-scale programme of delivery on a fleet approach for proven technologies such as offshore wind and nuclear generation to speed up build rate and maintain security of supply.
      4. Accelerate the development and testing of new technologies to quickly commercialise viable options that could be implemented at the scale required.
      5. Above all, the creation of a strategic plan based on sound engineering and operational analysis is needed. Atkins has long called for an Energy System Architect , to oversee the creation and delivery of this strategy: the proposed Future System Operator (FSO) should have the remit to create this plan, but it must be implemented rapidly and be adequately resourced with the capability for the challenge.

      Notes to editors

      The new analysis published today is an update to Atkins' 2020 build rate assessment, which estimated a 9-12GW build rate to achieve net zero by 2050. Since then, the UK Government's target to decarbonise electricity generation and ensure security of supply has been brought forward by 15 years, increasing the required build rate significantly, with up to 16GW of new generation required each year, every year, to meet forecast energy demand.

      What is a build rate?

      The build rate reports how much new generation has been connected to the system each year and estimates the rate required in the future. Whilst the timing and varying size of individual projects mean a uniform build rate is unlikely to be achieved, the build rate is a useful benchmark to check whether the UK is building enough to meet net zero targets and maintain security of supply. It is a valuable tool to forecast what level of new construction will be required to meet targets and bring new generation online at a consistent rate, to avoid challenges in new grid connections, finding the right skills, and supply of materials.

      Key statistics from the 2022 build rate analysis:

      • Up to 16GW of new generation is now required each year, every year, to meet the latest 2035 target.
      • The average build rate for 2017-2021 was 3.2GW.
      • The highest ever annual build rate in the UK was recorded in 2017, with 6.5GW of gas and renewable generation brought online: less than half of what is now required each year.
      • In total, 15.9GW of new generating assets were connected between 2017 and 2021, the same increase in capacity is now required to be delivered each and every year to 2035.
      • By 2035 the UK electricity system capacity will need to at least double its current size of 108GW - and Atkins estimate that potentially up to 49GWiv of the UK's current operational power stations will also close by 2035.
      • To replace ageing power plants and ensure enough generation is built to meet peak demand requirements, the UK needs to build 159GW-203GW of new generating assets by 2035: the equivalent of building the UK's entire energy system twice over in less than 13 years.

      Sources & assumptions

      1. Atkins' analysis is based on BEIS Net Zero Scenarios to 2035 - the required build rate was estimated using the low, average and high new build requirements between now and 2035, alongside the current generation capacity of the grid (in GW) and an indicative value for cumulative asset decommissioning between now and 2035 (in GW).
      2. The BEIS Net Zero Scenarios forecast up to 11GW of new nuclear, 171GW of renewables and 52GW of gas by 2035, with hydrogen intended to play a role in energy storage and industrial power, along with technologies such as Carbon Capture Utilsation & Storage (CCUS). Atkins' build rate assessment does not provide forecasts or recommendations by technology.
      3. Historic build rate

      About Atkins

      Atkins (www.atkinsglobal.com) is one of the world's most respected design, engineering and project management consultancies, employing over 19,000 people across the UK, North America, Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific and Europe. We build long-term trusted partnerships to create a world where lives are enriched through the implementation of our ideas. You can view Atkins' recent projects here.

      About SNC-Lavalin

      Founded in 1911, SNC-Lavalin is a fully integrated professional services and project management company with offices around the world dedicated to engineering a better future for our planet and its people. We create sustainable solutions that connect people, technology and data to design, deliver and operate the most complex projects. We deploy global capabilities locally to our clients and deliver unique end-to-end services across the whole life cycle of an asset including consulting, advisory & environmental services, intelligent networks & cybersecurity, design & engineering, procurement, project & construction management, operations & maintenance, decommissioning and capital. - and delivered to clients in key strategic sectors such as Engineering Services, Nuclear, Operations & Maintenance and Capital. News and information are available at snclavalin.com or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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      Disclaimer

      SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. published this content on 29 June 2022 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 29 June 2022 09:45:59 UTC.

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