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Government unveils net zero strategy

Building on the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan, the government has published its long-awaited UK Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener document, which sets out a “comprehensive economy-wide plan for how British businesses and consumers will be supported in making the transition to clean energy and green technology – lowering Britain’s reliance on fossil fuels by investing in sustainable clean energy in the UK, reducing the risk of high and volatile prices in the future, and strengthening our energy security”.

Published on 19 October, the strategy sets out commitments, which the government says will unlock up to £90B of private investment by 2030 and provide certainty to businesses to support the UK in gaining a competitive edge in the latest low-carbon technologies.

The key aim is the government’s target for the UK to be powered entirely by clean electricity, subject to security of supply, by 2035. It aims to have 40GW of offshore wind power by 2030, as well as 1GW of floating offshore wind and deployment of new flexibility measures including storage to help smooth out future price spikes. Britain will also deliver 5GW of hydrogen production capacity by 2030 and is targeting a final investment decision on a large-scale nuclear plant by 2024.

Other commitments include:

  • an extra £350M (in addition to £1B already announced) to support the electrification of UK vehicles and their supply chains and another £620M for targeted electric vehicle grants and infrastructure
  • maximising system flexibility, including through storage technologies, demand side response, and interconnectors to integrate renewables, balancing the intermittency of renewables and helping to maintain system operability
  • promoting more ambitious and sustained demand reduction and energy efficiency measures to reduce overall power demand
  • an extra £500M towards innovation projects to develop the green technologies of the future, bringing the total funding for net zero research and innovation to at least £1.5B
  • to deliver 5GW of hydrogen production capacity by 2030 whilst halving emissions from oil and gas. £140M will be ringfenced to establish an Industrial and Hydrogen Revenue Support scheme to accelerate industrial carbon capture and hydrogen, bridging the gap between industrial energy costs from gas and hydrogen and helping green hydrogen projects get off the ground. Four carbon capture usage and storage clusters are targeted for delivery by 2030
  • £3.9B of new funding for decarbonising heat and buildings
  • £120M towards the development of nuclear projects through the Future Nuclear Enabling Fund

Unveiling the plan Prime Minister Boris Johnson said

“With the major climate summit COP26 just around the corner, our strategy sets the example for other countries to build back greener too as we lead the charge towards global net zero”.

GridBeyond CEO and Co-Founder Michael Phelan said:

“Gas and power prices in Britain have risen by over 250% this year, which is putting pressure on bills now. We need to make urgent progress with increasing levels of low-carbon energy generation, but this needs to be balanced with measures to facilitate flexibility and removing barriers for technologies such as long duration energy storage and reforming markets to appropriately reward actions from the demand side”.

The government has also published its Heat and Building Strategy. Published alongside these two strategies today is HM Treasury’s Net Zero Review, which explores the key issues as the UK decarbonises. It said while “the costs of global inaction significantly outweigh the costs of action […] it is not possible to forecast how individual household finances will be hit over the course of a 30-year transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions”.

 

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