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UK government plan for net zero ‘to deliver private investment and jobs’

Strategy concentrates on heat, electric vehicles, aircraft fuel, carbon capture, hydrogen and nuclear power.

The government published its long-awaited Net Zero Strategy document on 19 October – a strategy that sets out an economy-wide plan for how British businesses and consumers will be supported in making the transition to clean energy and green technology on their way to net zero by 2050. Such a switch will lower Britain’s reliance on fossil fuels by investing in sustainable clean energy, reducing the risk of high and volatile prices in the future and strengthening energy security, says the government.

The strategy includes new investment programmes for decarbonising heat and buildings; electrification of vehicles; the commercialisation of new, sustainable aircraft fuels; and new hydrogen and carbon capture projects.

The commitments will unlock up to £90bn of private investment by 2030, and support 440,000 jobs in green industries in 2030, says the government. This will provide certainty to businesses to support the UK in gaining a competitive edge in the latest low-carbon technologies and in developing thriving green industries in the industrial heartlands.

As part of the strategy, new investment by the government includes:

  • £3.9bn of new funding for decarbonising heat and buildings, including the new £450mn three-year Boiler Upgrade Scheme – see also page 11.
  • An extra £350mn to support the electrification of UK vehicles and their supply chains, and another £620mn for targeted electric vehicle grants and infrastructure, particularly on-street residential charge points.
  • Work to kick-start the commercialisation of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) made from sustainable materials. Government ambition is to enable the delivery of 10% SAF by 2030 and it will support UK industry with £180mn to develop of SAF plants.
  • A new £140mn Industrial and Hydrogen Revenue Support scheme to help green hydrogen projects get off the ground. Two initial carbon capture clusters – Hynet Cluster in North West England and the East Coast Cluster in Teesside and the Humber – will be backed by £1bn in government support – see also page 11.
  • An extra £500mn towards innovation projects to develop the green technologies of the future, bringing the total funding for net zero research and innovation to at least £1.5bn. 
  • £120mn towards the development of nuclear projects through the Future Nuclear Enabling Fund. Such funding could support decarbonisation of the UK’s electricity system fifteen years earlier, from 2050 to 2035, says the government. 
  • £124mn boost to the Nature for Climate Fund helping to meet commitments to restore approximately 280,000 ha of peat in England by 2050 and treble woodland creation.

The Net Zero Strategy sets out clear policies and proposals for meeting the UK’s fourth and fifth carbon budgets, and keeps the government on track for carbon budget six, it says.

The policies and spending brought forward in the Net Zero Strategy mean that, since publication of the Ten Point Plan in November last year, the government has mobilised £26bn of government capital investment for the green industrial revolution. And more than £5.8bn of foreign investment in green projects has also been secured, it adds.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says: ‘The UK’s path to ending our contribution to climate change will be paved with well-paid jobs, billions in investment and thriving green industries – powering our green industrial revolution across the country. By moving first and taking bold action, we will build a defining competitive edge in electric vehicles, offshore wind, carbon capture technology and more, whilst supporting people and businesses along the way.’

While the new strategy was widely welcomed, some felt it to be half-hearted. Greenpeace likened the strategy to ‘pick-and-mix’, rather than the substantial meal needed to reach net zero. It also bemoaned the lack of new investment in public transport and a commitment to end new oil and gas licences.

News Item details

Journal title: Energy World

Organisation: GOV.UK

Subjects: Policy and Governance, Net zero,

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