The UK has taken further steps on its journey to net zero by 2050, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced his ten point plan, which seeks to create and support 250,000 jobs.
Covering clean energy, transport, nature and innovative technologies, the plan will mobilise £12 billion of government investment, and seeks to spur over three times as much private sector investment by 2030.
The ten points are:
- Offshore wind: Producing enough offshore wind to power every home, quadrupling the production to 40GW by 2030, supporting up to 60,000 jobs.
- Hydrogen: Working with industry aiming to generate 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 for industry, transport, power and homes, and aiming to develop the first town heated entirely by hydrogen by the end of the decade.
- Nuclear: Advancing nuclear as a clean energy source, across large scale nuclear and developing the next generation of small and advanced reactors, which could support 10,000 jobs.
- Electric vehicles: The government pledges to back car manufacturing bases in the West Midlands, North East and North Wales and elsewhere to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles, and transform national infrastructure to better support electric vehicles.
- Public transport, cycling and walking: Making cycling and walking more attractive ways to travel and investing in zero-emission public transport.
- Jet Zero and greener maritime: Supporting difficult-to-decarbonise industries to become greener through research projects for zero-emission planes and ships.
- Homes and public buildings: Pledging to make our homes, schools and hospitals ‘greener, warmer and more energy efficient’, the government seeks to create 50,000 jobs by 2030, and a target to install 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028.
- Carbon capture: The government pledges for the UK to become ‘a world-leader in technology to capture and store harmful emissions away from the atmosphere’, with a target to remove 10MT of carbon dioxide by 2030, equivalent to all emissions of the industrial Humber today.
- Nature: The government pledges to protect and restore our natural environment, ‘planting 30,000 hectares of trees every year, whilst creating and retaining thousands of jobs.’
- Innovation and finance: Developing the technologies needed to reach new energy ambitions and make the City of London the global centre of green finance.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented on the plan: “Although this year has taken a very different path to the one we expected, I haven’t lost sight of our ambitious plans to level up across the country.
“My Ten Point Plan will create, support and protect hundreds of thousands of green jobs, whilst making strides towards net zero by 2050.
“Our green industrial revolution will be powered by the wind turbines of Scotland and the North East, propelled by the electric vehicles made in the Midlands and advanced by the latest technologies developed in Wales, so we can look ahead to a more prosperous, greener future.”
To deliver on six points of the plan, the Prime Minister has announced new investment, including:
- Carbon capture: An extra £200 million of new funding to create two carbon capture clusters by the mid-2020s, with another two set to be created by 2030. This increased the total invested to £1 billion, helping to support 50,000 jobs, potentially in areas such as the Humber, Teesside, Merseyside, Grangemouth and Port Talbot.
- Hydrogen: Up to £500 million, including for trialling homes using hydrogen for heating and cooking, starting with a Hydrogen Neighbourhood in 2023, moving to a Hydrogen Village by 2025, with an aim for a Hydrogen Town – equivalent to tens of thousands of homes – before the end of the decade. Of this funding, £240 million will go into new hydrogen production facilities.
- Nuclear: £525 million to help develop large and smaller-scale nuclear plants, and research and develop new advanced modular reactors.
- Electric vehicles: The UK will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, ten years earlier than planned. However the sale of hybrid cars and vans that can drive a significant distance with no carbon coming out of the tailpipe is allowed until 2035.
- £1.3 billion to speed up the rollout of charge points for electric vehicles in homes, streets and on motorways across England.
- £582 million in grants for those buying zero or ultra-low emission vehicles to make them cheaper to buy and incentivise more people to make the transition.
- Nearly £500 million to be spent in the next four years for the development and mass-scale production of electric vehicle batteries.
- The government will also launch a consultation on the phase out of new diesel HGVs. No date has been set yet.
- Homes and public buildings: £1 billion next year into making new and existing homes and public buildings more efficient, extending the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme by a year.
- Greener maritime: £20 million for a competition to develop clean maritime technology, such as feasibility studies on key sites, including Orkney and Teesside.
The announcement of the ten point plan has been welcomed across different industries.
Emma Pinchbeck, Energy UK’s chief executive, commented: “We can only reach the Net Zero target with efforts on all fronts, so we welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment in the Ten Point Plan today.
“The energy industry will power delivery on most of the Prime Minister’s bold targets, like those for electric vehicles, heat pumps, and energy efficiency – and on the investment in technologies, like hydrogen, nuclear and wind.
“Businesses see the massive potential for showing global leadership on the green economy as we also host the UN climate change negotiations in 2021 and rebuild after the pandemic.
“The energy industry has led the way in reducing the UK’s emissions and we stand ready to play a central role in this Green Industrial Revolution.
“As the Prime Minister has said: this isn’t just about conservation, but creating 250,000 jobs: ambitious policies will bring investment, employment, and lasting benefits to all parts of the country, to communities and to the environment.”
Jonathan Maxwell, CEO, Sustainable Development Capital Limited, commented: “Residential heating is one of the biggest carbon emitters.
“However, if we are to be carbon neutral by 2050 we must also focus on energy efficiency in the commercial and industrial sectors.
“Due to inefficiencies in generation and distribution more than half of the energy provided to buildings, which use 40% of the world’s energy, can be lost before it reaches its end use.
“Projects that deliver onsite energy generation to commercial buildings or industrial processes, or the installation of energy efficiency equipment upgrades to a company’s estate, can improve efficiency levels to over 90%.
“We strongly encourage the government to consider both residential and commercial energy solutions in its plan to achieve net zero.”
Russell Smith, Director, Retrofit Works, who sits on the UK Green Jobs Taskforce and is a member of the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE), added: “This announcement confirms the core role that retrofit plays in getting us to net zero and the retrofit industry can and will rise to the challenge.
“Our recent work modelling the retrofit works needed to move our housing stock to net zero showed a need for around 500,000 additional trained professionals and tradespeople.
“This is a 250% increase to the existing industry workforce, requiring people at all levels and all backgrounds from across the country.
“Some existing skills from other sectors can move across very easily, some may need more time.
“The good news is that with the new Apprenticeship Standards model initiated in August 2020 we can ensure that the mobilisation of new people can be flexible enough to cope with the varying demands.”
The absence of solar power from the energy plans came as a disappointed to the chief executive of the Solar Trade Association.
Chris Hewett commented: “It is disappointing that Number 10 has yet to grasp the opportunity presented by solar in the UK.
“Not only is it set to be the cheapest power source for years to come, it also provides good jobs and business opportunities up and down the country.
“Whilst the Prime Minister might have a blind spot for solar, decisions in the market are likely to outpace his thinking.
“Today the City of London signed a 15-year deal to fund a new solar park, residential solar installations have already bounced back to pre-pandemic levels, all major utilities are expanding their solar ambitions and costs continue to fall.
“Delivering net-zero is now as much about economics as it is policy.”