Government sets out its vision for a low carbon UK

A strategy setting out how the UK plans to lead the world in cutting carbon emissions to combat climate change while driving economic growth, has been published by the Government. The Clean Growth Strategy: Leading the way to a low carbon future builds on the UK’s progress to date. Carbon emissions in the UK have fallen and national income risen faster than any other nation in the G7 since 1990, according to the report, with emissions down by 42 percent while the economy has grown by 67 percent.

The strategy sets out the government’s plans for the investment of over £2.5 billion to support low carbon innovation from 2015 to 2021, as part of  a wider commitment to increase public spending on science, research and innovation. That £2.5 billion of existing government spending includes up to £505 million from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Energy Innovation Programme, which aims to accelerate the commercialisation of innovative clean energy technologies and processes. There are already more than 430,000 jobs in low carbon businesses and their supply chains in the UK, according to the government.

UK progress was covered in a recent report by PwC which demonstrated the country is strongly outperforming its peers within the G20 according to PwC’s Low Carbon Economy Index (LCEI). Its analysis published last month shows the UK decarbonising faster than any other G20 nation. It also claims that in 2016, the UK achieved a decarbonisation rate of 7.7% – almost three times the global average.

The strategy

Measures set out in the Strategy include funding through the BEIS Energy Innovation Programme of:

  • up to £10 million for innovations that provide low carbon heat in domestic and commercial buildings
  • up to £10 million for innovations that improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings
  • an extra £14 million for the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund, including a new sixth fund
  • up to £20 million in a Carbon Capture and Utilisation demonstration programme
  • up to £20 million to demonstrate the viability of switching to low carbon fuels for industry
  • up to £20 million to support clean technology early stage funding

Further measures include commitments to:

Business and industry efficiency

  • develop a package of measures to support businesses to improve their energy productivity, by at least 20% by 2030
  • establish an Industrial Energy Efficiency scheme to help large companies install measures to cut their energy use and their bills
  • demonstrate international leadership in carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS), by collaborating with our global partners and investing up to £100 million in leading edge CCUS and industrial innovation to drive down costs

Low carbon transport

  • the government has announced an end to the sale of all new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040
  • spend £1 billion supporting the take-up of ultra low emission vehicles, including helping consumers to overcome the upfront cost of an electric car
  • develop one of the best electric vehicle charging networks in the world
  • work with industry as they develop an Automotive Sector Deal to accelerate the transition to zero emission vehicles
  • invest around £841 million of public funds in innovation in low carbon transport technology and fuels

Clean, affordable energy

  • phase out the use of unabated coal to produce electricity by 2025
  • provide up to half a billion pounds for further Contract for Difference auctions for less established technologies, such as offshore wind, with the next one planned for spring 2019
  • work with industry as they develop an ambitious Sector Deal for offshore wind, which could result in 10 gigawatts of new capacity, with the opportunity for additional deployment if this is cost effective, built in the 2020s
  • deliver new nuclear power through Hinkley Point C and progress discussions with developers to secure a competitive price for future projects in the pipeline