Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled his much-vaunted 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution late last night, comprising a total £12bn of new and previously announced government investment in a raft of clean technologies and projects, from carbon capture and storage and hydrogen production, to electric vehicles, offshore wind, and building energy efficiency.
The new plan provides a core plank of the government’s net zero agenda to decarbonise the economy within three decades, with further green policy details expected in the coming weeks in the form of the Treasury Spending Review, the long-awaited Energy White Paper, and the National Infrastructure Strategy, all of which have been promised before Christmas.
Here, BusinessGreen rounds up all the policies, commitments, and investment pledges in the 10-point plan:
1. Accelerating the offshore wind boom
As trailed last month, the government is aiming for every home in Britain to be powered by offshore wind, with a target for 40GW of capacity by 2030, supporting up to 60,000 jobs. The industry maintains the ambitious targets can be met and the sector was given a further boost recently by fresh government support for emerging floating wind technologies. However, investors will also be hoping that the imminent Energy White Paper accelerates the timetable for the clean power contract auctions that will determine the pace of new development.
2. Catalysing the hydrogen economy
Up to £500m investment is earmarked for developing the UK’s hydrogen economy. Working with industry, the government is offering up to £240m to help ramp up low carbon hydrogen production to 5GW by 2030 for industry, transport, power, and home heating use. It also aims to trial hydrogen for home heating and cooking, eyeing the UK’s first ‘hydrogen neighbourhood’ by 2023, moving to a ‘hydrogen village’ by 2025, and the first ‘hydrogen town’ by 2030. The move was broadly welcomed by industry, which insists hydrogen has a critical role to play in the net zero transition. However, critics noted the £500m programme pales in comparison with the €7bn hydrogen strategy unveiled by the German government earlier this year.
3. A new wave of nuclear development
The plan promises up to £525m of government investment towards developing both large and smaller scale nuclear plants, including research and development of the small modular reactors (SMRs) which it estimates could support up to 10,000 jobs. It represents a further vote of confidence in new nuclear in the UK and confirms once again that the government sees the sector as having an integral role to play in the net zero transition. However, precise details of how it intends to secure a green light for new projects beyond Hinkley Point C are not due to be confirmed until the Energy White Paper is published and whatever approach the government opts for will prove controversial with many.
4. Fast-tracking the EV transition
Arguably the most high impact part of the plan is confirmation the UK will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, 10 years earlier than planned. Plug-in hybrid cars and vans will have a five year stay of execution, but will have to be able to cover significant distances in zero emission mode and will still see sales of new models end in 2035. The support the transition the government announced £1.3bn to accelerate the rollout of electric vehicle charge points in homes, streets, and on motorways in England and a further £582m in extra grants to subsidise the cost of zero or ultra-low emission vehicles. There is also a boost for manufacturers with £500m earmarked to help ramp up production of electric vehicle batteries in the UK over the next four years, representing the first tranche of a £1bn EV funding package announced in October. The government expects the manufacturing drive will create “thousands of jobs” particularly in the UK’s car manufacturing bases of the West Midlands, North East, and North Wales, while also delivering the UK’s first battery gigafactory.
5. Promoting greener modes of transport
The plan promises to make cycling and walking more “attractive” over the years to come, building on the £5bn that was allocated earlier this year to support the acceleration of ‘greener travel’ such as cycling, walking and buses. However, the pace of change will depend a lot on the Department for Transport and local authorities, many of which are facing a vocal media backlash over even modest measures to boost cycling.
6. Launching zero emission ships and planes
The plan reiterates the government’s commitment to developing a new generation of green aviation and shipping technologies. In addition to the government’s drive to develop zero emission flight through innovation funding and the Jet Zero Council which was launched earlier this year, a further £20m has been earmarked clean shipping technologies. However, airlines and shipping companies pushing for highger levels of R&D funding and green fuel mandates will have to wait to see if Ministers are willing to take bolder action to accelerate decarbonisation efforts across the sectors.
7. A major green retrofit to homes and public buildings
The Green Homes Grant voucher scheme, geared at helping households make their homes greener and more energy efficient, will be extended by a year past its original March deadline, following a further £1bn investment into the programme – a move that will be welcomed by industry. Meanwhile, the plan sets a target of 60,000 heat pumps to be installed every year by 2028. And Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme will continue to work to cut bills and emissions for hospitals and schools. Overall, energy efficiency savings policies are expected to create 50,000 jobs by 2030, the government said. The new funding has been welcomed, but again the industry is waiting on the Energy White Paper for more details on how the government intends to mobilise the level of investment required in upgrading the UK’s inefficient building stock.
8. Ramping up carbon capture and storage technology
Substantial government investment is earmarked for delivering on a new goal to capture 10MT of carbon dioxide from the air using carbon capture technology by 2030. An extra £200m of funding has been unveiled for the development of two carbon capture clusters by the mid-2020s, with another two planned for 2030, bringing its total investment in the technology to £1bn. The government expects these commitments to support up to 50,000 jobs. The various industry bodies bidding for funding to deliver net zero industrial clusters immediately welcomed the news that the scheme has been expanded and hailed the opportunity to establish the UK as a world leader in the field. Although critics noted £1bn of CCS funding is the same level the coalition government announced a decade ago, only to pull the plug on that competition.
9. Protecting nature
The government has reiterated its manifesto pledge to plant 30,000 hectares of trees each year and to spend £5.2bn on building new flood and coastal defences in England by 2027. It follows the announcement this week the government is to create more National Parks and pump a further £40m into a green recovery nature restoration scheme. However, the real boost to efforts to enhance nature is likely to come next year as the government starts to enact its farming subsidy reforms and begins paying landowners for delivering environmental benefits.
10. Establishing London as a green finance hub
The UK capital’s finance sector is set to become the “global centre of green finance”, the government said. This will be matched by government backing of innovation that will allow the UK to reach its new energy ambitions. The move follows the Treasury’s confirmation all firms will face mandatory climate risk reporting rules from 2025. And intriguingly in his op ed in the FT in which he announced plans for a Net Zero Business Taskforce, the PM hinted that further action on carbon pricing was in the pipeline.
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