The UK’s energy department has decided to row back on its projections for new gas-fired power capacity.
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is instead predicting brighter prospects for renewables and nuclear power instead.
Analysis performed by Carbon Brief of the BEIS energy and emissions forecasts suggest the department has cut its projections for the amount of new gas plants needed by 2035 by more than half since publishing its previous forecasts last year.
The refreshed projections suggest that low carbon sources of electricity will surpass gas by 2020.
The forecasts show expectations that twice as much renewable energy capacity will come online by 2035 as it did in 2015, as well as twice as much battery storage capacity as it projected just a year ago, according to the analysis.
"Following a sharp fall in coal fired generation in 2016, the DDM [BEIS's forecast model] projects a further gradual decline in fossil fuel based generation out to 2035," the BEIS document states. "This is displaced by more renewables and eventually nuclear based generation with increased imports (via interconnectors) until new nuclear capacity reduces the need for this in the 2030s."
The figures also show there still remains a gap in the overall CO2 cuts needed to meet statutory carbon reduction targets from 2023 onwards.
While the government still expects to meet the second and third carbon budgets, for the fourth carbon budget - 2023 to 2027 - UK emissions "are currently projected to be greater than the cap set by the budget, so a shortfall remains against this target", the BEIS document states.
The government's Clean Growth Strategy, published in October, had also conceded a gap currently exists, but suggested future innovation and policy changes could help make up the shortfall.
Meanwhile solar PV continues to deploy at around half the level government expected it to, recent statistics have revealed.
Last Friday Ofgem released its most recent FiT deployment statistics, revealing how much solar had been installed during Q4 2017 – total rooftop deployment currently standing at just over half of what was originally forecast when the scheme was redesigned in late 2015.