The British government is moving ahead with ambitious plans to scale up affordable, clean, homegrown power and build thriving green industries, boosting the country’s energy security and independence, reducing household bills in the long term and maintaining a world-leading position in achieving net zero.
Measures announced include commitment to carbon capture usage and storage, beginning investment into the UK’s emerging floating offshore wind industry, backing the first tranche of new green hydrogen production projects under the £240-million Net Zero Hydrogen Fund and opening the fifth round of the UK’s world-leading scheme to incentivise investment in renewable electricity, backed by a budget of £205 million.
Other measures are speeding up the planning process to attract investment, cutting household bills by expanding government energy efficiency support to even more households, investing more than £380 million into boosting electric vehicle charging points and infrastructure across the country to support the rollout of electric vehicles, reducing reliance on fossil fuels to heat buildings and providing UK Export Finance with an extra £10 billion capacity to boost exports.
A £160-million fund will be launched to support port infrastructure projects, securing the country’s leadership in this new technology.
The fifth round of the UK scheme to incentivise investment in renewable electricity will be opened, backed by a budget of £205 million. Now being held annually, the ‘Contracts for Difference’ scheme will build on the UK levy-funded support for renewable power since 2010 of around £80 billion.
The Great British Insulation Scheme will upgrade 300,000 of the country’s least energy efficient homes.
A new £30-million Heat Pump Investment Accelerator has been designed to leverage £270 million private investment to boost manufacturing and supply of heat pumps in the country. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme, which offers a £5,000 grant to anyone buying a heat pump, will be extended till 2028.
“Today’s announcement contains some positive measures to increase renewable energy, move to zero carbon logistics and build green skills, but with the clock rapidly ticking towards retail’s clean energy and transport deadlines, government needs to go further, faster,” Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said.
“But there is a gap around business energy use. To meet the UK’s ambitious 15 per cent energy efficiency target, firms will need to install vital measures such as insulation, energy management systems and renewables. Many smaller firms will struggle with the capital costs, so support should be provided where necessary, as has been pledged for households,” said Alex Veitch, director of policy at the british Chambers of Commerce.
“The government has taken a big step forward with these announcements, but it now needs to plug the gaps in its strategy to ensure it does not lose momentum in the years ahead,” he added.