In a speech made to the BusinessGreen Leaders Forum, Managing Climate Rish & Building Climate Resilience, Baroness Verma covered the following three points related to energy and climate change:
- How far the UK has already come in driving green growth.
- The opportunity to go further through innovation.
- The importance of collaboration between government and industry.
The following has been taken directly from the speech of Baroness Verna:
“How far the UK has already come in driving green growth
Our Energy Bill is set to drive the necessary £110 billion of investment in our energy infrastructure, helping to secure low carbon growth at the lowest possible cost to the consumer.
The Green Investment Bank has also been up and running for a year. The first of its kind, the bank has a total of £3.8 billion to specifically invest in green infrastructure.
Examples of investments to date include:
- £100 million towards the conversion of the Drax power station in Selby.
- £125 million to finance the Green Deal.
- £45.6 million in the Walney offshore wind farm off Cumbria.
Since 2010, DECC has recorded industry announcements, regarding investments in large scale renewable energy, totalling over £29 billion, with the potential to support around 30,000 jobs.
Renewable generation is just one part of the market in green goods and services, a market worth £3.4 trillion globally.
At the start of this year, we launched our flagship programme to help improve the energy efficiency of British homes and businesses.
It’s still early days for the twenty year Green Deal programme but already we are seeing significant interest.
81% of people who have received Green Deal Advice report that they had, were getting or would get energy saving measures installed.
And the Green Deal is supporting jobs, with up to 60,000 expected in the insulation sector alone by 2015 – that’s more than double the 26,000 employed in 2012.
“The opportunity to go further through innovation
To my second point, energy is one of the biggest opportunities to kick-start growth and boost employment but we need to be more forward-thinking, speedier and more innovative.
To get us to our 2050 target we need innovation in a wide range of low carbon energy technologies.
Innovation will not just bring down the costs of deploying these new low carbon technologies but it will also drive down the energy cost to the consumer.
Such is the importance of innovation that we expect to invest in excess of £1 billion, in this spending review period, to directly support innovation in a broad portfolio of low carbon technologies.
We’re investing in:
- Offshore wind, which has the potential to add £200 billion to the economy up to 2050. We are already seeing success with the Prime Minister opening the London Array on the 4th of July. With its 175 wind turbines, this is the largest offshore wind farm in the world.
- We’re also investing in nuclear, which is clearly a key growth industry that provides highly skilled jobs. EDF anticipate their new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point C will employ up to 25,000 people over the course of construction.
- We have a £1 billion competition in Carbon Capture and Storage to help the UK bridge the electricity generation gap between fossil fuels and renewables.
“The importance of collaboration between government & industry
Lastly, collaboration between government and industry is central to delivering the task of decarbonising our economy at the lowest possible cost to the consumer.
We want to ensure that UK-based businesses can effectively compete for low carbon opportunities, including those arising in wind power, wave and tidal energy, nuclear power, greener building technologies & ultra-low-carbon transport.
We published 11 sector Industrial Strategies which set out the long-term, whole government approach to how we support business to give confidence now for investment and growth.
DECC’s Innovation Programme directly supports over 150 companies, over 60 of which are SMEs.
The department for Business, Innovation and Skills has a range of programmes too. Funds such as the Regional Growth Fund and the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Fund are there to encourage investment across sectors and regions.
Last year the government’s Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult became operational. Overseen by the Technology Strategy Board, the ORE catapult will stimulate capacity building, innovation and improvement in business competiveness with over £1 billion of private and public investment.”
The ultimate aim of all this work is to reach 2050, with near zero carbon emissions from electricity, with an interim target of 15% of energy generation from renewable sources by 2020.
With the recent news of record investment into renewable energy sources by the private sector, and the launch of the domestic RHI creeping closer, our targets seem even more in reach than ever before.