Wednesday 27 May 2020

Greenprint for a cleaner, resilient economy

Greenprint for a cleaner, resilient economy

The UK Government should greenlight billions of pounds of private investment in low carbon infrastructure to help the economy rebound from coronavirus, says energy firm SSE.

The British headquartered firm says committing to a net zero power sector by 2040 will help stimulate a cleaner, more resilient recovery and get the UK on track to meet its climate action commitments.

Targeting 75GW of offshore wind projects, five carbon capture and storage plus hydrogen power clusters and giving the go-ahead on plans to regenerate the electricity motorways to transport clean power to more homes and businesses, will help support a return to growth.

A green fiscal rule which properly puts a high price on carbon emissions will incentivise the switch to cleaner power. And making homes more energy efficient with electric heat networks and a deadline for the demise of the gas boiler is needed to hit net zero targets.

The Government should also stimulate investment in a world-leading electric vehicle charging network and bring forward the ban on petrol and diesel vehicles to 2030.

SSE has written to the Prime Minister, the Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy, Innovation and Skills (BEIS) with its five-point “greenprint” to rebuilt the economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, SSE Chief Executive, said:  “This moment in time is pivotal on many levels, that’s why now it's even more important to double down on climate action.  Coronavirus has demonstrated only concerted, focused effort can solve a crisis – and that goes for the climate emergency too.

“We stand ready to invest billions in the coming years and want to play a key role in the UK’s recovery. We are unashamedly biased in promoting practical, deliverable solutions that could help unlock this investment from ourselves and others.

“Our five-point action plan is focused on stimulating growth and investment to leave a legacy of a cleaner, more resilient UK economy for the future.”

With public finances more stretched than ever in the wake of coronavirus, attracting private sector investment and channelling it into the right areas will be vital.

SSE is a UK-listed company with a proud history of developing low-carbon infrastructure – from the hydropower revolution in the 1940s, to building some of the world’s biggest offshore wind farms and electricity networks to support net zero today.

Its “greenprint” to build a cleaner, more resilient economy focuses on five priority areas; a net zero power system by 2040, strategic investment, ahead of need, in electricity networks, a clean industrial revolution, leading the charge on electric vehicles and green buildings for green jobs.

It says this focus – and the go-ahead to projects ripe for investment – is exactly the type of boost the economy and energy sector need to support long-term, sustainable jobs and contribute to UK GDP.

Whilst tackling coronavirus continues to be the national priority – the climate emergency has not gone away and a failure to deal with it could be even greater, says Alistair Phillips-Davies.

He said:  “While it is still too early to predict with confidence the full human, social and economic impact of coronavirus, we can say with certainty that significant investment will be needed to rebuild the UK economy in its wake.

“Although not as immediately felt as those from coronavirus, the impacts from a failure to deal with climate change could be even greater - that’s why delivering on the UK’s net zero emissions target by 2050, and 2045 in Scotland, is as important as ever.

“Low-carbon investment is a win-win: providing a vital economic boost, creating skilled, sustainable jobs in all UK regions to support a just transition, improving air quality and building our resilience while also driving progress towards our climate change targets.”

The Greenprint for building a cleaner, more resilient economy is available to download here.

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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