New plans to make UK world leader in green energy
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.
Some £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% of our electricity demand.
This new investment will see around 2000 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.
Confirming offshore wind will produce more than enough electricity to power every home in the country by 2030, based on current electricity use, boosting the government’s previous 30 GW target to 40 GW.
Creating a new target for floating offshore wind to deliver 1 GW of energy by 2030, which is over 15 times the current volumes worldwide. Building on the strengths of our North Sea, this new technology allows wind farms 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 is exactly this kind of ambition which will mean we can build back greener and reach net zero emissions by 2050.
‘This 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 seven 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% lower than in 1990, while our economy over the same period grew by 72%.’
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, said: ‘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 this 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.’
Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director general, said: ‘Fuelling a sustainable economic recovery by reigniting business investment and creating green jobs is the right response to the challenges unleashed by Covid-19.
‘A low carbon power system will underpin the green industrial revolution. Investment in port infrastructure and opening up already successful auctions for renewable electricity will help accelerate construction of offshore wind farms and secure low cost renewable power for homes and businesses.’
Duncan Clark, Head of UK Region for Ørsted, said: ‘We welcome this announcement from the government which will unlock huge opportunities for world class UK supply chain companies, both domestically and overseas, to market the skills and innovative technologies that have been fostered in the UK offshore wind industry.
‘Offshore wind is the most cost effective way to achieve the UK’s net zero ambitions and delivering 40 GW of offshore wind by 2030 is an essential part of this roadmap. This is a challenging target but achievable if government and the industry continue to work together to accelerate deployment and build out the UK project pipeline as quickly as possible, regenerating coastal communities while expediting our progress to a more sustainable, low carbon future.’
Dr Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the Association for Renewable and Clean Technology (REA), said: ‘We welcome this important commitment from the Prime Minister to lead a green industrial revolution. The REA has long advocated that the UK can be powered safely and securely by renewable energy. We look forward to working with his departments on further exciting opportunities for delivering renewable heat and transport and other renewable power technologies and flexibility markets also vital for meeting our net zero commitments.’
Sabrina Malpede, ACT Blade, managing director, said: ‘We are delighted to hear of the government’s plan to support clean wind power development in the UK. Investing in this industry has real potential to create jobs, boost productivity and promote sustainable growth. At ACT Blade, we strive to support wind energy development by contributing to lower its cost. We hope the Build Back Greener plan includes support for innovative technologies and its commercialisation, as well as promote policies for a real clean energy transition.’
Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: ‘The Prime Minister is right to acknowledge the UK’s renewable energy resource as one of the best in the world and right to focus on the development of wind power, as part of a balanced green energy mix, as a key way to power the UK’s green economic recovery.
‘All parts of the UK can and should benefit from the development of this resource and the renewable energy industry in Scotland looks forward to working alongside government to deliver jobs, investment and innovation as we move towards our ambitious net zero targets.’
Steve Scrimshaw, vice president, Siemens Energy UK&I, said: ‘This is an ambitious announcement by the government. Offshore wind with hydrogen energy storage can provide reliable clean energy and will be vital to achieving net zero. The UK’s unique position means we can be at the forefront of developing deeper sea waters and the supply chain will welcome the commitment from Government in this innovative area.’
Julian Brown, vice president and UK country manager of MHI Vestas Offshore Wind, said: ;We strongly support the government’s plans to Build Back Greener! In addition to confirming the immense role offshore wind will have in the UK’s clean growth, the government’s injection of vital funds into ports and manufacturing locations will provide a real boost towards the realisation of many thousands of UK offshore wind jobs. This is truly a step forward for the UK’s green economic recovery.’
Tom Glover, RWE UK country chair, RWE Renewables, said: ‘As one of the world’s leading companies for renewable energy, committed to be carbon neutral by 2040 and to grow our renewables portfolio in the UK, RWE welcomes the package of measures to further develop UK offshore wind sector announced by the Prime Minister. This major step further cements the UK as one of the most attractive markets for investment in offshore wind. We will work with the government and the wider energy industry to deliver these ambitions, creating thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of investment. We look forward to the Prime Minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution which we hope will include measures to overcome some of the restrictions to rolling out renewable energy even faster, such as the significant and co-ordinated investment in our grid infrastructure.
Mike Hughes, Zone president, Schneider Electric UK & Ireland, said: ‘We welcome today’s news of a substantial investment in next generation offshore wind projects.
‘Green technologies hold huge potential to enhance the skills, know how, and production capabilities across the UK, while also supporting our collective progress towards net zero emissions with high quality products and technologies developed here in the UK.
‘We believe there has never been a better time to invest in renewables technology production, as the UK prepares to host the milestone 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) next year.
‘Today, the UK is already a world scale leader in offshore wind energy, as we pride ourselves on up to 40% renewable energy in our country’s electricity balance. Further investment in making the UK the world leader in low cost green energy production will fuel growth while keeping costs and emissions in check.’