Plans to scale up affordable, clean, homegrown power and build thriving green industries in Britain have been unveiled by the government in an effort to flesh out its net zero plans as demanded in a High Court ruling last July.
While the Powering up Britain document covers an impressive array of technologies, finance & efficiency, it received criticism for reiterating pledges that have been announced before, with Green Party MP Caroline Lucas amusingly suggesting, “The greenest thing about Govt’s ‘Green Day’ plan is the recycling of already announced ideas.” Many commentators are of the opinion that the report lacks enough concrete proposals to achieve net zero and that it omits areas crucial to the task such as energy storage, grid connections.
However, others welcomed the report, highlighting the funding for hydrogen and carbon capture usage & storage and the competition to select the best nuclear small modular reactor for development.
A summary of the measures announced:
- World leading commitment to Carbon Capture Usage and Storage – The first projects will be announced to progress to the next stage of the negotiations to rollout the first Carbon Capture clusters in our industrial heartlands. The round for areas to apply for two additional future clusters has also been launched and there will be an opportunity for further projects to be added to the first two clusters. These announcements build on the £20 billion CCUS funding
- Kickstarting investment into the UK’s emerging floating offshore wind industry by launching the £160 million fund to support port infrastructure projects, securing the UK’s leadership in this new technology.
- Backing the first tranche of new green hydrogen production projects under the £240 million Net Zero Hydrogen Fund as part of development of this new power source.
- Opening the fifth round of the UK’s world-leading scheme to incentivise investment in renewable electricity, backed by a budget of £205 million. Now being held annually, Contracts for Difference will build on the UK levy-funded support for renewable power since 2010 of around £80 billion.
- Announcing Great British Nuclear, will initially be led by Simon Bowen as interim Chair and Gwen Parry-Jones OBE as interim Chief Executive Officer: with GBN’s first job to launch a new competition to select the best Small Modular Reactor technologies – one of the most advanced nuclear power technologies in the world – for development by Autumn.
- Speeding up the planning process to attract investment – reforming the planning process to enable the building of more energy infrastructure including solar power and offshore wind projects more quickly.
- Cutting household bills by expanding Government energy efficiency support to even more households – The Great British Insulation Scheme, a rebranded ECO+, will upgrade 300,000 of the country’s least energy efficient homes.
- Investing more than £380 million into boosting EV charging points and infrastructure across the country to support the rollout of electric vehicles
- Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels to heat our buildings – a new £30 million Heat Pump Investment Accelerator is designed to leverage £270 million private investment to boost manufacturing and supply of heat pumps in the UK. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme, which offers a £5,000 grant to anyone buying a heat pump, will be extended to 2028.
- Providing UK Export Finance with an extra £10 billion capacity to boost exports, including from the UK’s world leading clean growth sectors.
- Building a stable environment for businesses to invest and grow in the transition to electric vehicles and sustainable aviation fuel.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt said, “Transforming our energy system is no longer just about tackling climate change, it is also a matter of national security. To protect ourselves from future price spikes, we need to accelerate the move to cleaner, cheaper, home-grown energy.
By unlocking billions of pounds of private capital through our Green Finance Strategy, we generate more of the energy we need in Britain and create new industries and jobs that are built to last.”
The government suggests its plans will support almost half a million new green jobs by 2030.
Since 2010, the UK has seen £198 billion of investment into low carbon energy, through a mixture of government funding, private investment and levies on consumer bills. Going forward it anticipates around £100 billion of private investment will be forthcoming into the UK’s energy revolution.