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UK outlines ‘affordable energy and clean growth’ in new industrial strategy

UK Prime Minister Theresa May
UK Prime Minister Theresa May

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has launched new proposals for a new industrial strategy, which includes a focus on ‘affordable energy and clean growth’.

Launching the green paper, Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: “This is an important step in building a modern, dynamic industrial strategy that will improve living standards and drive economic growth across the whole country.

A modern British industrial strategy must – build on the UK’s strengths and extend excellence into the future; close the gap between the UK’s most productive companies, industries, places and people and the rest; and ensure we are one of the most competitive places in the world to start and grow a business. We are inviting businesses and workers to contribute to this vision to help us create a highly skilled economy where every place can meet its potential.”

The green paper sets out technologies where Britain has strengths in research and development which could be supported through the government’s new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, including: smart energy technologies; robotics and artificial intelligence, and 5G mobile network technology.

The strategy also includes a focus on affordable energy and clean growth. In a statement, the government said: “We need to ensure that we keep costs down for businesses, we coordinate changes to energy infrastructure triggered by new technologies (such as electric vehicles), and we secure the economic benefits of the transition to a low-carbon and resource-efficient economy by making sure next generation technologies are created and harnessed in the United Kingdom.”

Decarbonisation goals

It added: “The Government will set out a long-term roadmap in 2017 to minimise business energy costs. This will be informed by a review, commissioned by the Government, of the opportunities to reduce the cost of achieving our decarbonisation goals in the power and industrial sectors.

“The review will cover how best to support greater energy efficiency, the scope to use existing instruments to support further reductions in the cost of offshore wind once current commitments have been delivered, and how government can best work with the regulator Ofgem to ensure markets and networks operate as efficiently as possible in a low-carbon system.

“We will also review the opportunities for growth from the energy sector and the opportunities for the UK. We are already testing the use of new grid technologies in various locations around the country in preparation for the shift to electric vehicles.

“To ensure that new energy technologies are developed here – and the UK benefits from global investment in this area – we have doubled support for energy innovation, and are already investing over £600 million in support to accelerate the transition to ultra- low emission vehicles. At the Autumn Statement 2016 additional funding of £270 million was announced.

“The government welcomes initial work on early sector deals, including from Sir John Bell on life sciences; Richard Parry-Jones on the transition to ultra-low emission vehicles; Juergen Maier on industrial digitalisation; Lord Hutton on improving UK competitiveness and skills in the nuclear industry; and Sir Peter Bazalgette on the creative industries.”

UK Prime Minister Theresa May