Government outlines energy plans

The Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Grant Shapps, has set out its plans for cleaner energy and green industries as it moves towards the target of achieving net-zero.

Measures announced include speeding up the planning process to attract investment and to enable the building of more energy infrastructure including solar power and offshore wind projects more quickly, and a commitment to carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) with the projects to be rolled out in industrial areas, building on the existing £20bn CCUS funding. There is also funding for the UK’s emerging floating offshore wind industry by launching a £160m fund to support port infrastructure projects and attract outside investment. Related to this will be the first tranche of new green hydrogen production projects under the £240m Net Zero Hydrogen Fund as part of development of this new power source.

Opening the fifth round of the UK’s world-leading scheme to incentivise investment in renewable electricity, backed by a budget of £205m. Now being held annually, Contracts for Difference will build on the UK levy-funded support for renewable power since 2010 of around £80bn, and the freshly created Great British Nuclear is to be tasked with launching a new competition to select the best Small Modular Reactor technologies for development by Autumn.

No Government announcement would be complete without a rebrand, so ECO+ will become The Great British Insulation Scheme tasked with the upgrade of 300,000 of the country’s least energy efficient homes.

In terms of domestic infrastructure, £380m is earmarked for EV charging points, and a new £30m Heat Pump Investment Accelerator is hoped to leverage £270m private investment to boost manufacturing and supply of heat pumps in the UK. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme, which offers a £5,000 grant to anyone buying a heat pump, will be extended to 2028.

Responding to the announcement, Greg Jackson, CEO of Octopus Energy commented: “We're delighted the Government is looking to remove outdated levies from electricity bills. A cheaper, greener, more secure future is an electrified future - and ending these taxes on increasingly clean electricity is essential.”

However, RenewableUK’s executive director of policy Ana Musat was more downbeat: “These announcements do not go far enough to attract the investment we need in the renewable energy sector, we need much bolder action to secure Britain’s clean energy future. Global competition for investment in renewable energy projects is fiercer than ever, and the UK risks falling behind and surrendering our global lead.”

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