UK industry wide plan to cut emissions

23 March 2021

An ambitious 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’s Business and Energy Secretary.

The Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy builds on the UK government’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, which was published last year. It sets out the government’s vision of a competitive, greener future for the manufacturing and construction sector and helps pave the way to meeting the ‘net-zero by 2050’ target. The expectation is that these new measures will create and support 80 000 UK jobs over the next 30 years whilst cutting emissions by two-thirds within 15 years.

The new strategy will be underpinned by supporting existing industry to decarbonise and encouraging the growth of new low carbon industries in the UK, as well as giving businesses long-term certainty to invest in home-grown?decarbonisation technology, such as that which can capture and store carbon emissions from industrial plants. 

The blueprint also includes measures to build on the UK’s efforts in moving towards greener energy sources, with an expectation that 20 TWh of the UK industry’s energy supply will switch from fossil fuel sources to low carbon alternatives by 2030.

To kick start the process, £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. 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.

Business and Energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng commented: “We were the first major economy to put into law our target to end our contribution to climate change, and [now] we are 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 will send a clear signal to the market by setting out how the government expects decarbonisation to happen, while improving investor confidence to unleash the private capital necessary to reach net zero by 2050. [This] 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.”

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