The plan includes a major boost in Britain for the use and storage of carbon capture, floating offshore wind industry, green hydrogen, small modular reactors, home insulation, electric vehicle charging infrastructure and heat pumps.
Last week, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero unveiled a plan to strengthen Britain’s long-term energy security and independence to “help deliver a clean, prosperous future for the country”. The UK plans to scale up affordable, clean, homegrown power and build thriving green industries, boosting the country’s energy security and independence, while lowering household bills in the long run and preserving what calls it a world leader in achieving net zero.
The UK government says it is driving a radical shift in the energy system to cleaner, more affordable energy sources to power a larger part of Britain. Tailored to grow the economy across the country, the plans will support nearly half a million new green jobs by 2030, creating a strategic advantage in new clean industries, and helping to create opportunities for UK businesses to expand their export expertise around the world.
Here are some of the areas the plan focuses on:
Use and storage of carbon capture: The first projects will move on to the next phase of the negotiations to roll out the first CO2 capture clusters in industrial heartlands. The Prime Minister and Secretary for Energy Security also launched the round for areas to apply for two additional future clusters and confirmed that there will be an opportunity to add more projects to the first two clusters. These announcements build on the £20bn CCUS funding package announced in the Spring Budget.
Britain supplying nuclear power: Based in or around the Greater Manchester area, this organization will be responsible for directing the delivery of new nuclear projects, with a target of up to 25% of UK electricity coming from nuclear sources by 2050 – up from 15% now. The first task for Great British Nuclear is to launch a competition to select the best Small Modular Reactor (SMR) technologies for development – smaller nuclear power plants based on the latest technology – by the autumn.
Green hydrogen: Funding awards for new hydrogen projects across the country, from the £240m Net Zero Hydrogen Fund, to kick-start this sector in the UK. A shortlist of 20 projects to move to the next phase in the first round of electrolytic hydrogen allocation.
Accelerating the deployment of renewable energy sources:The government opened bidding for the fifth round of funding through the world’s leading Contracts for Difference scheme, for an initial budget of £205 million, to support new renewable energy projects across the country alongside private investment. In addition, Grant Shapps is launching the Floating offshore wind production scheme providing up to £160 million to kick-start the investment in port infrastructure projects needed to deliver on the UK’s floating offshore wind ambitions, and a new task force will be set up to boost solar energy on to support the network.
Increasing the energy efficiency of households and businesses: Reduce energy bills by increasing energy efficiency. Up to 80% of people across the country in council tax brackets AD are eligible for support to make their homes more energy efficient under a new ECO+ scheme called the Great British Insulation Scheme. This means around 300,000 more of the country’s least efficient homes could benefit from improvements, saving households an average of around £300-400 a year in energy bills, and is part of a £1bn energy efficiency program running from the spring to March 2026. towards the government’s target of reducing energy demand by 15% by 2030.
Reducing our dependence on fossil fuels to heat buildings: A new £30 million investment accelerator for heat pumps is designed to stimulate private investment of £270 million to boost the production and supply of heat pumps in the UK. The government is announcing an extension of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, until 2028, which offers a subsidy of up to £5,000 to anyone who buys a heat pump, making it cheaper to buy and run a heat pump than a gas boiler.
Reducing household electricity bills: Confirmation that the government will prepare plans during 2023/24 to rebalance gas and electricity costs in household bills, with the aim of reducing electricity bills and accelerating electrification for households and businesses.
Carbon-free transport: The government says reducing carbon emissions in the transport network will be key to achieving net zero, which is why the government is investing a further £381m through the launch of the Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure fund, along with £15m for the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme, to help install tens of thousands of new chargers across the country, alongside private sector investment. This supports the world-leading mandate for zero-emission vehicles on which the government advises, bringing certainty to the industry and boosting the used electric vehicle market. In addition, the government is boosting domestic production and use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) by opening the second round of the £165m Advanced Fuels Fund and launching the second SAF mandate consultation.
The plans also address issues related to speeding up the planning process, greening the economy and raising finance. It looks at a new set of revised national energy policy statements for consultation that will accelerate planning approvals for the energy infrastructure needed to power homes and businesses with the latest low-carbon technologies, such as solar and offshore wind. A study by the Commissioner for Electricity Networks will examine what else can be done to speed up network infrastructure, with recommendations for ministers by June. A consultation was also launched today to ensure that local communities can benefit from the development of new network infrastructure in their area.
An update to the green finance strategy will mobilize the billions in private investment needed for net zero and wildlife restoration. It includes the next steps towards becoming the world’s first net zero transition financial centre, advising on requirements for the UK’s largest companies to publish net zero transition plans that reflect the requirements for financial companies; advising on regulating ESG rating providers; and the announcement of a series of new investment roadmaps highlighting opportunities in the offshore wind, hydrogen, CCUS and heat pump sectors. The government is also launching a review, led by Watford’s Lord Harrington, into how the UK can better attract foreign direct investment in five growth areas, including green industries.
UK Export Finance has also been given an additional £10bn capacity to boost exports, including from the UK’s world-leading clean growth sectors. The government will also publish Patrick Vallance’s Pro-Innovation Regulation of Technologies Review to support growth and innovation in green industries and its response, which accepts all nine recommendations, including on grid capacity, heat pumps and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“We have stepped in to protect people from the worst impact by helping pay about half of typical energy bills. But we are also stepping up to power Britain and ensure our long-term energy security with more affordable, clean energy from Britain, so we can lower energy prices and grow our economy. So we are driving plans to boost renewable energy, revive nuclear power and build new booming industries such as carbon capture, which in turn will create good jobs across the country, open up new opportunities for UK businesses at home and abroad. abroad, and our world-leading action to reach net zero.
Secretary of Energy Security Grant Shapps said:
“Access to cheap, abundant and reliable energy is the foundation of a thriving economy that our homes and businesses rely on for our future prosperity. Following our unprecedented cost-of-living support this winter, which continues, this plan now sets out how we will solve this problem in the long term to deliver UK wholesale electricity prices that are among the cheapest in Europe, while leveraging our expertise in field of green growth to the world.”
Treasury Secretary Jeremy Hunt added:
“Transforming our energy system is no longer just about tackling climate change, it is also a matter of national security. To protect ourselves against future price spikes, we need to accelerate the transition to cleaner, cheaper homegrown energy. By freeing up billions of pounds of private capital through our Green Finance Strategy, we are generating more of the energy we need in Britain and creating new industries and jobs that are built to last.”
Since 2010, the UK has seen £198bn of investment in low-carbon energy, through a mix of government funding, private investment and consumer bill levies. Going forward, we expect around £100bn of private investment to be made in the UK’s energy revolution. The UK has also broken numerous records in renewable electricity generation, making it the world leader in offshore wind. The UK is now in an excellent position to export its leading expertise.
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Featured image from Gov.uk.
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