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UK: Johnson Unveils £12bn Plan for ‘Green Industrial Revolution’

November 20, 2020


UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has taken the wraps off a £12bn plan to create a “green industrial revolution” that will support up to 250,000 jobs.

Johnson’s ten point plan, which reiterates London’s policy pledge of 40GW of offshore wind by 2030 and 60,000 sector jobs, will put the country on the right track to hit net zero by 2050, he said.

The PM has put the UK industrial heartlands, including the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber as well as Scotland and Wales, at the heart of the blueprint to “build back greener”.

As well as offshore wind, the government is promising 5GW of low carbon hydrogen by 2030 for transport, industry and homes, an acceleration of nuclear deployment and new carbon capture schemes.

There will also be a focus on innovation and finance, to include finding ways of developing cutting-edge technologies to reach the new energy ambitions and make the City of London the HQ for global green finance.

The plan is being funded with £12bn of state cash across all sectors for various initiatives, including £500m for hydrogen, £525m for nuclear and £200m for carbon capture.

A large part of the outlay, over £2.3bn, will be used to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles, with London to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030, ten years earlier than planned.

Other key parts of the plan will be driven forward by significant investment set out over the last year, including the £1 billion energy innovation fund to stay ahead of the latest technologies needed to reach new energy targets.

The spending will spur over three times as much by the private sector by 2030, according to Johnson.

The Prime Minister will on Wednesday host a virtual roundtable with green investors to set out his ambitious plan and incentivise further private sector investment.

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,” said the PM.

“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.”

He added that the blueprint marks the beginning of the UK’s path to net zero. Further plans to reduce emissions whilst creating jobs will follow over the next year in the run up to the international COP26 climate summit in Glasgow next year, he said.

The proposals have been welcomed by renewables groups. RenewableUK deputy chief executive Melanie Onn said the blueprint is ambitious and has low-cost renewable energy at its heart.

“Offshore wind is set to become the backbone of the UK’s electricity system, providing over a third of our power by 2030, and we can rapidly develop green hydrogen to decarbonise shipping, aviation and industry. The Prime Minister’s new 2030 hydrogen target is a vital signal to investors and the market, and we will work with Government to ensure our world-leading renewable hydrogen technologies play a full part in meeting that target,” she said.

Frank Gordon, head of policy at REA, hailed the announcement as a “major day” for the UK.

“Renewable transport fuels will play a critical and complementary role to this policy, and will be needed in greater volumes to ensure that we maximise emissions reductions from the millions of petrol and diesel cars and vans already on our roads, not just from new ones,” he said.

The Climate Change Committee meanwhile said the ten point plans was a “landmark” policy move.

“These plans will help put the UK on track to becoming one of the world’s cleanest economies while boosting business and creating thousands of jobs in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the CCC said.

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