Energy firms have joined the chorus of businesses urging government to step up green spending in a bid to create jobs, reduce carbon and create a better, more resilient post-Covid society.
Energy UK’s report ‘Rebuilding the UK economy: fairer, cleaner, more resilient’ identifies five key areas of investment:
- Mass home retrofits to boost energy efficiency (which make even more sense if more people are working from home and create lots of long-lasting jobs)
- Freeing up more private investment for low-carbon generation and storage (which will be needed to electrify heat and transport)
- Electrifying transport
- Nurturing clean tech clusters such as Humberside’s Energy Estuary, supported by regionalised supply chains (if hydrogen and CCS industries are policy goals)
- Funding local authorities and communities in low-carbon recovery
“The need to kickstart our economy after this huge [coronavirus] shock presents an unprecedented opportunity to shape and reset our future,” said Energy UK interim chief executive, Audrey Gallagher.
“We must ensure our recovery is based around creating a clean, sustainable and resilient low carbon economy which delivers opportunities and benefits across the whole country”.
Whether in clean generation or infrastructure innovation, industry and civic leaders across the environmental spectrum are unanimous in seeing energy jobs as key to the post-Covid recovery, and to meet carbon targets.
Two weeks ago gas industry leaders lobbied the Chancellor for tax breaks for green hydrogen, while the Local Government Association called for a million green jobs over the decade. Last week the Solar Trade Association highlighted installers’ ability to create jobs, as it asked the energy ministry to ensure a tripling of solar capacity by 2030, while others urge policymakers and financial counterparties not to forget nuclear.
As the OECD predicts Britain’s economy could shrink by over 11 per cent this year, chancellor Rishi Sunak was this week reported by the Times as pondering a “huge” programme for mass home insulation, for inclusion in a summer Budget – which would tick off the first item on Energy UK’s list.
Download Energy UK’s report here.