The UK government has today (30 March) announced plans to scale up “affordable, clean, homegrown power and build thriving green industries”, by investing billions of pounds in what it termed an “energy revolution”.
Following decades of reliance on foreign fossil fuels, the government said it was delivering a “radical shift” in the UK’s energy system towards cleaner and more affordable energy sources.
The measures include a commitment to Carbon Capture Usage and Storage. An announcement is imminent regarding which projects will progress to the next stage of industrial heartland-located Carbon Cluster negotiations.
The round for areas to apply for two additional future clusters has also been launched, and the government said there will be an opportunity for further projects to be added to the first two clusters. These announcements build on the £20 billion (€22.7bn) of CCUS funding.
The fifth round of the UK’s scheme to incentivise renewable electricity investment will also be opened. This is backed by a budget of £205 million (€233m).
Now being held annually, Contracts for Difference will build on the UK levy-funded support for renewable power since 2010 of around £80bn (€90.9bn).
The government said its initiatives would boost the UK’s energy security and independence, reduce household bills for the long term and enable the country to maintain “a world-leading position in achieving net-zero”.
Other measures include stimulating investment into the UK’s emerging floating offshore wind industry by launching a £160m (€181.8m) fund to support port infrastructure projects; backing the first tranche of new green hydrogen production projects under the £240m (€272.8m) Net Zero Hydrogen Fund and announcing Great British Nuclear (GBN).
The government said that, since 2010, the UK has seen £198bn (€225.1bn) investment into low-carbon energy – through a mixture of government funding, private investment and levies on consumer bills.
Going forward, it anticipates around £100bn (€113.6bn) to be forthcoming into clean energy.
Energy security secretary Grant Shapps said: “We have seen over the past year what can happen when global energy supplies are disrupted, and a tyrant like Putin uses energy as a weapon.
“Access to cheap, abundant and reliable energy provide the foundation stone of a thriving economy with our homes and businesses relying on it to deliver our future prosperity.”
Prime minister Rishi Sunak said: “When global energy supplies are disrupted and weaponised by the likes of Putin, we have seen household bills soar and economic growth slow around the world.”
He added: “We're driving forward plans to boost renewables, revive nuclear and build new thriving industries like carbon capture, which will in turn create good jobs across the country, provide new opportunities for British businesses at home and abroad, and maintain our world-leading action to reach net zero.”