New plans to make UK world-leader in green energy

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The Prime Minister has set out new plans to Build Back Greener by making the UK the world leader in clean wind energy – creating jobs, slashing carbon emissions and boosting exports.

£160 million will be made available to upgrade ports and infrastructure across communities like in Teesside and Humber in Northern England, Scotland and Wales to hugely increase our offshore wind capacity, which is already the largest in the world and currently meets 10 per cent of our electricity demand.

This new investment will see around 2,000 construction jobs rapidly created and will enable the sector to support up to 60,000 jobs directly and indirectly by 2030 in ports, factories and the supply chains, manufacturing the next-generation of offshore wind turbines and delivering clean energy to the UK.

Through this, UK businesses including smaller suppliers will be well-placed to win orders and further investment from energy companies around the world and increase their competitive standing on the global stage, as well as supporting low-carbon supply chains.

The Prime Minister has also set out further commitments to ensure that, within the decade, the UK will be at the forefront of the green industrial revolution as we accelerate our progress towards net zero emissions by 2050.

These include:

  • Confirming offshore wind will produce more than enough electricity to power every home in the country by 2030, based on current electricity usage, boosting the government’s previous 30GW target to 40GW.
  • Creating a new target for floating offshore wind to deliver 1GW of energy by 2030, which is over 15 times the current volumes worldwide. Building on the strengths of our North Sea, this brand new technology allows windfarms to be built further out to sea in deeper waters, boosting capacity even further where winds are strongest and ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of the next generation of clean energy.
  • Setting a target to support up to double the capacity of renewable energy in the next Contracts for Difference auction, which will open in late 2021 – providing enough clean, low cost energy to power up to 10 million homes

These commitments are the first stage outlined as part of the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution, which will be set out fully later this year. This is expected to include ambitious targets and major investment into industries, innovation and infrastructure that will accelerate the UK’s path to net zero by 2050.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

Our seas hold immense potential to power our homes and communities with low-cost green energy and we are already leading the way in harnessing its strengths.

Now, as we build back better we must build back greener. So we are committing to new ambitious targets and investment into wind power to accelerate our progress towards net zero emissions by 2050.

This sets us on our path towards a green industrial revolution, which will provide tens of thousands of highly-skilled jobs.

Together with planned stringent requirements on supporting UK manufacturers in Government-backed renewables projects, these measures will mean the industry can reach its target of 60% of offshore wind farm content coming from the UK.

Business and Energy Secretary Alok Sharma said:

The offshore wind sector is a major British success story, providing cheap, green electricity while supporting thousands of good-quality jobs.

Powering every home in the country through offshore wind is hugely ambitious, but it’s exactly this kind of ambition which will mean we can build back greener and reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Today’s announcement marks the latest stage of the Government’s support for renewable energy. Last September the third round of the Contracts for Difference renewable energy auction delivered record-low prices on enough clean energy to power 7 million homes. Earlier this year the Government announced the next round would be open to onshore wind and solar projects for the first time since 2015.

The UK has the largest installed capacity of offshore wind in the world, with around 10GW in operation off its coasts.

The Government’s plan for renewable energy forms part of wider efforts to ensure the UK meets its legally binding target to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and build back greener from coronavirus.

Over the past decade, the UK has cut carbon emissions by more than any similar developed country. In 2019, UK emissions were 42 per cent lower than in 1990, while our economy over the same period grew by 72 per cent.

Hugh McNeal, CEO of RenewableUK, said:

The Government has raised the ambition for offshore wind and renewables, and our industry is ready to meet the challenge. A green recovery with renewables at its heart will be good for consumers and jobs, as well as helping to meet our 2050 net zero emissions target. Support for new floating wind projects will ensure the UK stays at the forefront of global innovation in renewables, and provides new opportunities in the low carbon transition.

Energy UK’s Chief Executive, Emma Pinchbeck:

The UK’s power sector has reduced emissions by nearly 70%, but we know we need to go further and faster on the road to Net Zero. The energy industry will work with Government to turn our world-leading low carbon power sector into a Green Recovery for the whole economy.

The package of support for offshore and floating wind announced by the Prime Minister today takes a UK decarbonisation success story and winds it up to a scale fit for the Green Recovery, creating jobs and billions of pounds of investment.

We need to build back better for the environment, for the economy and for communities. We look forward to the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan for the low carbon industrial revolution, later this autumn.

Keith Anderson, CEO of ScottishPower said:

These bold ambitions and clear targets are exactly the right signals at exactly the right time. They will encourage long-term investment and innovation from the renewables industry – and they will boost employment and economic benefits right across the UK. ScottishPower is committed to doubling down on our commitments to delivering 100% clean green energy that matches the UK’s aim to cut emissions for every home.

Benj Sykes, Industry Chair of OWIC, said:

Offshore wind is on track to become the backbone of Britain’s electricity system, providing reliable, low-cost clean power to homes and businesses across the country. The industry is investing tens of billions of pounds in new offshore wind projects, supporting local economies and employment in communities across the UK. Our global leadership in offshore wind, coupled with new support for investment in ports, will help unlock the huge opportunity for the UK to build a world-leading, competitive supply chain.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, CEO of SSE said:

We welcome today’s announcement which will help ensure that more low cost offshore wind can be deployed before 2030, creating green jobs and putting the UK on the right path to net zero. This complements SSE’s own plans to invest over £7.5 billion in low carbon infrastructure over the next five years, including building the largest offshore wind farm in the world at Dogger Bank with Equinor.

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