A new blueprint to deliver the ‘world’s first low-carbon industrial sector’ and over £1 billion to cut emissions from industry, schools and hospitals has been announced by the UK Government today (17 March).
The Strategy sets out the government’s vision for building a competitive, greener future for the manufacturing and construction sector. Part of the government’s path to net zero by 2050, today’s measures will create and support 80,000 UK jobs over the next 30 years whilst cutting emissions by two-thirds in just 15 years, government says.
The new strategy will be underpinned by supporting existing industry to decarbonise and encouraging the growth of new, low carbon industries in the UK to protect and create skilled jobs and businesses in the UK, as well as giving businesses ‘long-term certainty’ to invest in home-grown decarbonisation technology.
The blueprint also includes measures to build on the UK’s efforts in moving towards greener energy sources, with an expectation of 20 terawatt hours of the UK industry’s energy supply switching from fossil fuel sources to low carbon alternatives by 2030 – helping industry to increase its use of low carbon energy sources to around 40% of industry’s total energy consumption.
Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge
£171 million from the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge has been allocated to 9 green tech projects in Scotland, South Wales and North West, Humber and Teesside in England, to undertake engineering and design studies for the rollout of decarbonisation infrastructure, such as carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) and hydrogen.
To reduce carbon emissions from public buildings including hospitals, schools and council buildings, £932 million has been directed to 429 projects across England. The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme funds low carbon heating systems, such as heat pumps, and energy efficiency measures like insulation and LED lighting.
The government will also introduce new rules on measuring the energy and carbon performance of the UK’s largest commercial and industrial buildings, including office blocks and factories, in England and Wales.
We were the first major economy to put into law our target to end our contribution to climate change, and today we’re taking steps to be the first major economy to have its own low carbon industrial sector.
The move could provide potential savings to businesses of around £2 billion per year in energy costs in 2030 and aim to reduce annual carbon emissions by over 2 million tonnes – approximately 10% of the current emissions from commercial and industrial buildings, government says.
Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “We were the first major economy to put into law our target to end our contribution to climate change, and today we’re taking steps to be the first major economy to have its own low carbon industrial sector.
“While reaching our climate targets will require extensive change across our economy, we must do so in a way that protects jobs, creates new industries and attracts inward investment – without pushing emissions and business abroad.”
The Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy sets out to send a ‘clear signal’ to the market by setting out how the government expects decarbonisation to happen, while working to improve investor confidence to ‘unleash the private capital necessary to reach net zero by 2050’.
In the process, the government says it will create the right framework for new industrial sectors to base themselves in the UK and attract inward investment, while future-proofing businesses to secure the long-term viability of jobs in our industrial heartlands.
Other key commitments within the Strategy include:
- to use carbon pricing as tool for getting industry to take account of their emissions in business and investment decisions
- to establish the right policy framework to ensure uptake of fuel switching in industry from fossil fuels to low carbon alternatives such as hydrogen, electricity or biomass
- to establish a targeted approach to mitigate against carbon leakage that meets the government’s domestic and global climate goals, while keeping businesses competitive
- to develop proposals for new product standards, enabling manufacturers to clearly distinguish their products from high carbon competitors
- to explore the role of coordinated action on public procurement to create demand for green industrial products, helping to drive down costs and allowing a broader market to develop
- use the government’s Infrastructure Delivery Taskforce, named ‘Project Speed’, to ensure the land planning regime is fit for building low carbon infrastructure
- to work with the recently re-constituted Steel Council to consider the implications of the recommendation of the Climate Change Committee to ‘set targets for ore-based steelmaking to reach near-zero emissions by 2035’
- support the skills transition so that the current and future workforce benefit from the creation of new green jobs
- an expectation that industrial emissions will fall by two-thirds by 2035, and by at least 90% by 2050, compared to 2018 levels
- an expectation that at least 3 megatons of CO2 is captured within industry per year by 2030, compared to minimal levels at present.
Government must also fully embrace the opportunities to save carbon through more efficient use of products and materials; the lowest carbon product is one you don’t make at all.
The areas receiving £932 million government investment through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) in England include:
- £78,236,986 for Greater Manchester Combined Authority to decarbonise 15 bodies of the Greater Manchester public estate, including Transport for Greater Manchester, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, Greater Manchester Police, the Royal Northern College of Music, and various Greater Manchester community buildings, including 36 schools and 22 leisure centres. The buildings will get extensive green upgrades, including new air source heat pumps, solar panels to generate and create their own electricity and new lighting systems
- £24,253,008 for Leicester City Council to upgrade 93 buildings including 56 schools. This will include replacing natural gas heating with air source heat pumps, installing LED lighting, installing solar panels, and improving the insulation of the buildings
- £24,007,737 for Hertfordshire County Council to upgrade 182 council buildings, including 74 schools and 23 emergency service buildings. This will include the installation of heat pumps, battery storage and solar panels and improving the energy efficiency of the buildings through installing double glazing and cavity wall insulation
- £12,640,760 for Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to install solar panels, heat pumps and new roof insulation. Also planned are mass replacement of lighting to greener LED units, replacing inefficient air compressors, and a new supply point to Castle Hill Hospital
Caterina Brandmayr, head of climate policy at Green Alliance, commented on the strategy, saying that government must ‘embrace’ the opportunities to save carbon through more efficient use of products and materials.
She said: “It’s good to see the government thinking strategically about how to make the most of emerging technologies to help carbon intensive sectors cut their emissions. Government must also fully embrace the opportunities to save carbon through more efficient use of products and materials; the lowest carbon product is one you don’t make at all.
“We now need fast action to turn these promises into a suite of concrete policies so that industry can benefit soon from energy and resource efficiency, fuel switching and, where necessary, carbon capture and storage. Taking action now is vital to futureproof industries and jobs across the UK.”