Head of Environmental Issues | Head of Planning | Real Estate
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There has certainly been no shortage of announcements and talking points from the COP28 conference. Foot Anstey's Environment and Energy specialists have distilled the key considerations and impacts for our clients who are pushing forward the energy transition.
World leaders have been gathered in Dubai for the past fortnight at the 28 meeting of the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28). A heightened sense of urgency accompanied this year's meeting as global temperatures reach record highs and extreme weather events hit communities across the world.
If the world is to move closer to limiting global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius, achieve Net Zero by 2050, and mitigate the worst effects of climate change, it is clear that countries need to accelerate their energy transition plans.
Below, we've picked out the key talking points and opportunities for three key types of stakeholders that will be central to the UK's transition to a clean, diverse energy mix.
For funders and investors: We provide a macro view of how the climate leadership race post-COP28 will impact them, and how newly announced carbon credit initiatives will impact the management of their portfolios.
For nuclear stakeholders: We comment on how closely the UK government has mirrored several countries’ wider declared will to triple nuclear energy capacity at COP28, and on the key practical considerations stakeholders should hold close to stay ahead of the game.
For solar stakeholders: We provide our expert opinion around the unexpected risks that come with the rising tide of COP28’s positive solar developments, and how they can proactively and best be managed.
A macro view of how the climate leadership race post-COP28 will impact funders and investors.
The climate leadership race in the funder/investor space continues.
Private funding/investment set new precedents in the net-zero and climate resilience movement at COP28…
Are we preparing for carbon markets’ resurgence?
The race for climate leadership in the UK and global funding/investment space remains wide open.
Continual monitoring of carbon markets – a necessary reality for funders/investors
We comment on how closely the UK government has mirrored several countries' wider declared will to triple nuclear energy capacity at COP28.
Day three of COP28 saw 22 countries, including the UK, launch a joint declaration to triple nuclear energy capacity by 2050 (the Declaration). Signatories also collectively called on international financial institutions and regional development banks to include nuclear energy in their lending policies to propel development and investment. Claire Coutinho MP, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, stood alongside global leaders as the UK showed its commitment to a nuclear revival. Days later, the UK further committed to jointly investing £3.3bn along with the US, Canada, France and Japan to develop a secure and reliable global nuclear supply chain.
Despite the lack of detail at this stage, we eagerly await the government’s publication of a new Nuclear Roadmap which should shed light on the opportunities on the horizon for finance and investment, construction and development, and science and technology industries. The Declaration broadly reflects pre-existing Government commitments to significantly increase nuclear energy capacity to 24 GW by 2050. For context, current operational nuclear capacity in the UK is around 6.5GW with 3.2GW under construction, so there is a long way to go. Here are some key issues to look out for in the coming months:
We look at the unexpected risks that come with the rising tide of COP28's positive solar developments, and how they can be proactively and best managed.
There are currently around 1,000 solar farms in operation across the UK. With many businesses opting to obtain energy from solar farms, it is no surprise that one of the main objectives of COP28 is to amplify the solar industry. However, even with government and international support, delivering solar energy does not come without its challenges.
Some of the key talking points to come out of COP28 involving solar energy are as follows:
Renewable energy resources like solar have been growing for years. For instance, the UK is set to add an additional 1.7 GWp-dc of new solar PV capacity in 2023. However, the rising demand doesn’t come without its negatives. The costs associated with running a solar farm, labour constraints and supply chain issues all contribute to creating project delays and cancellations. This could cost developers millions and may entice them to turn back to fossil fuels.
There are numerous ways developers can mitigate these challenges including:
The funding announced by Rishi Sunak represents a positive step forward from the UK government easing these challenges.
There are some concerns around the impact that large scale use of solar photovoltaic (“solar pv”) panels could have on available agricultural land and wildlife. That said, potential environmental impact can be mitigated, through appropriate choice of site and introduction of relevant and appropriate measures. The uptake in agrivoltaics is also a positive development in ensuring the integration of solar pv with preservation of agricultural land.
In contrast with the polemic discussions around the future of fossil fuels, COP28 demonstrated clear global support for increased use and development of renewable energy. On a domestic level, it is yet to be seen how the the climate funding announced at COP28 will be allocated, although notably, there is continuous support by the UK government for solar energy.
This speaks to Foot Anstey’s strength – we have significant experience helping solar developers navigate this space and are well placed to provide expert advice to clients.
We can assist every climate transition stakeholder with finding the answers that are specific to them. Get in touch with a member of the team below or visit our Energy and Infrastructure sector pages to find out about our experience.
Head of Environmental Issues | Head of Planning | Real Estate
Clean Energy | Commercial | Energy & Infrastructure
Developer | Energy & Infrastructure | Planning