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COP28 – Solar’s chance to shine

Francis Mann, Government Affairs Lead, UK

Francis Mann, Government Affairs Lead, UK | Lightsource bp

4 min read Partner content

The energy landscape is changing. We believe renewable energy is the future. And that future is now.

As the world meets to debate and collaborate on climate action at COP28, Lightsource bp, as one of the world’s leading solar power companies, will advocate for the crucial role of solar power in the energy transition.

Our planet is at crisis-point. Solar power, wind, and other types of renewable energy will play a huge part in decarbonising our future. The goal of reaching net zero and shifting to sustainable energy will change the way we travel, eat, make things, and how we heat and cool our homes. These renewable energy technologies are already a central part of diversified generation and UK energy security, the UK was powered by 42% renewables in 20221, but limiting average global temperature increases to 1.5°C will require immediate action and bold collaboration.

To meet this target, emissions reductions need to be 45% lower than they would be under existing policies. Business as usual will not be enough to address the required action. In order to make this happen, global deployment of wind and solar needs to accelerate by a factor of four this decade. By 2050, this figure increases to a factor of ten – according to International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). This is an objective set at the previous COP27 negotiations in Glasgow in 2021 and further supports the Paris Agreement.

At COP28, our aim is to amplify the solar industry’s voice and demonstrate practical pathways to delivering significant energy globally, at the speed required to meet the 1.5°C limit and avert a climate catastrophe. Solar power at scale is foundational to the global effort to limit climate change, but the opportunity will be missed without rapid action.

With international consensus on the importance of supporting renewables in place on paper, it’s now up to each individual nation to put their money where their mouths are in terms of keeping pace with the speed of progress required to fully realise the potential of solar power to combat the ongoing crisis. If the world is to combat climate change while meeting rising electricity demand, we need a rapid shift from conventional to renewable energy sources at scale. We believe that through sustainable and responsible solar power projects, the world can begin to address the complex and interwoven global issues of climate change, energy security, and affordable power. The technology is in place, the capabilities and investor capital to deploy it exist in swathes. What’s missing is the unity to support those endeavours at the pace and scale needed.

From a UK perspective, this means the acceleration of the current efforts underway to address grid capacity constraints, efforts like the National Grid ESO’s recent announcement to accelerate 20GW of generating capacity, and a continued and enhanced focus on reforming UK planning so it works for our communities and our energy demands.

Our journey from here on out starts from a position of strength. The UK energy transition is an international success story. We were the first country to make legally binding Net Zero commitments, we boast the fastest de-carbonising economy, and we’re back down to greenhouse gas emissions below those recorded in 1990. As a nation, we’re committed to the energy transition, recognising the necessity of electrification and the investment required in the associated infrastructure. UK solar has been a driving force behind this success story, delivering clean and reliable domestic electricity generation, subsidy free, across the UK.

However, there remains much to be done to reach net zero by 2050.

At Lightsource bp, we’re committed to using our expertise in renewable energy generation and storage to help the country meet our net zero goals; we aim to play a key role in taking renewable power into every home and business in the UK. We need to unlock the issues facing solar today together and identify the quick wins that can make an immediate impact today.

As a global leader, we’ve spent the past decade driving solar forward and we’re not stopping any time soon. Lightsource bp is dedicated to working with policy makers to bring about the changes needed to realise the government’s ambitions – to achieve an energy secure and Net Zero UK – and solar is the key weapon in the UK’s arsenal.

We’ll be at COP28, supported by our partners REA, and are keen to kickstart conversations on what needs to be done to meet solar’s potential in the UK and beyond. If you’d like to hear more, please get in touch via email – francis.mann@lightsourcebp.com – to set up a time to speak.


1. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/energy-security-boost-with-multi-million-backing-for-renewables

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