Synthesis Report published by Programme on Integrating Renewable Energy

25 February 2021

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Key findings from the Oxford Martin School’s five-year Programme on Integrating Renewable Energy have been brought together in a Synthesis Report.

The Synthesis Report draws together key findings across this multidisciplinary programme, showcasing the work and research undertaken, and giving links to where more information and resources can be found.

Energy consumption is a key driver of climate change, as it estimated to generate more than 80% of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. Replacing our use of fossil fuels with renewable energy is, therefore, critical to tackling climate change. The programme's whole systems approach looked beyond just the technology, to look at the whole energy system.

The challenges, barriers, drivers facing the further integration of renewable energy and potential solutions for the energy system across technical, social, economic, and governance issues identified over the five years of the programme have been summarised in the report.

Key messages include:

  • Solar and wind are the cheapest forms of electricity generation and will be key to a low carbon energy system, together with storage and flexibility;
  • Use will depend critically on integrating variable generation into electricity networks;
  • Any solution will involve a mix of flexible generation, flexible demand, inter-connection and storage;
  • Changes are urgently needed to energy market design, regulation and governance to accelerate decarbonisation and the ability to meet Net Zero emissions by 2050; and
  • Changing energy systems requires a whole system approach, with multidisciplinary solutions for maximise success.

On the publication of the report, Dr Helen Gavin, Programme Manager and Knowledge Exchange Researcher said, "Never before have the roles of citizens, civil society, businesses, and governance been so important in shaping the energy transition. Passionate people across the world are developing ways to overcome barriers, find new technological solutions, dismantle economic and regulatory obstacles, and ensure that people are at the heart of equitable change. We look forward to a Net Zero future for everyone, powered by renewable energy!"