UK government publishes Clean Growth Strategy
The UK government has committed billions of pounds to funding low-carbon innovation and energy efficiency in its Clean Growth Strategy published today.
Presented by business and energy secretary Greg Clark, the long-awaited plan outlines how the government intends to cut carbon emissions while driving economic growth at the same time.
This will involve over £2.5bn of investment in low-carbon innovation between 2015 and 2021 – the largest increase in public spending on science, research and innovation for over three decades.
“This government has put clean growth at the heart of its industrial strategy to increase productivity, boost people’s earning power, and ensure Britain continues to lead the world in efforts to tackle climate change,” Clark said.
“The world is moving from being powered by polluting fossil fuels to clean energy. It is as big a change as the move from the age of steam to the age of oil, and Britain is showing the way.”
The strategy includes up to £505m of investment from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Energy Innovation Programme in accelerating the commercialisation of clean energy technologies.
This involves up to £20m of funding for a carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration programme, and the same amount for viability schemes for industries to switch to low-carbon fuels.
Up to £10 million will go towards innovations that provide low-carbon heat for buildings, and a further £10m to improve the energy efficiency of these buildings.
This was welcomed by the Energy Institute (EI), which said the strategy “breathes new life” into decarbonising the UK, delivering on the ‘asks’ of professionals working in the energy sector
“Taking energy efficiency seriously in homes, businesses and industry will cut emissions, bring down bills and increase productivity more effectively than anything else,” EI CEO, Louise Kingham, said.
“Putting CCS back at the table and action to tackle emissions from heat, alongside renewables, nuclear and electric vehicles make this a credible plan.”
Other notable features of the strategy include:
• £1bn funding the take-up of ultra-low emission vehicles
• £3.6 billion of investment to upgrade the energy efficiency of around a million homes
• Developing a package of measures to support businesses to improve their energy productivity, by at least 20% by 2030
• Phasing out the use of unabated coal to produce electricity by 2025
• Designing a new system of future agricultural support to focus on delivering better environmental outcomes after the UK leaves the EU.
IEMA policy lead, Nick Blyth, said that the institute welcomed the publication of the strategy, saying there has been much frustration by the “stop-start” approach to policy recently, such as the loss of carbon capture support in 2015.
“It is encouraging that some commitments are returning through this new plan, and we are also hopeful to see signs of a more joined-up approach,” he continued.
“IEMA members would also support further development for a much more lasting policy landscape, which is essential in providing confidence for business and investors, and continuing the UK’s journey to a pioneering, prosperous zero-carbon economy.”