Boris Johnson says the new plans will create and support up to 250,000 British jobs while allowing the UK to “forge ahead with eradicating its contribution to climate change by 2050” in the lead-up to the COP26 climate summit being hosted in Glasgow next year.
Mike Hughes, Zone President, Schneider Electric UK & Ireland, said: “The government’s 10-point plan signals that green jobs creation is central to its post-Covid economic growth plan which is good news. There are some welcome standout commitments that will make the UK a world leader in attempts to decarbonise, bring down emissions, and reach carbon net zero by 2050.
“We already see signs of what is possible as businesses respond to the demands of consumer preference and investor activism. Our own recent research has found that over half (55%) of UK homeowners say it is important for their home to reach net zero emissions in their lifetime. The UK is one of the first countries to ban gas boilers in new homes and investment in wind power has resulted in it making up 40% of our country’s electricity balance. There are more EV charging points across the country than petrol stations – a figure that will grow exponentially with the decision to bring forward the ban on petrol and diesel cars to 2030.
“When you consider that 80% of emissions are due to energy consumption and 60% of the way we manage energy is inefficient, the scale of the task of changing the ways we create, manage and use energy to reach net zero is significant, but we believe that most of the technologies already exist to enable us to do so, if the right investments and incentives are in place.
“We must now work with industry and consumers to drive adoption through a mix of convenience, incentives and increase the availability of clean energy alternatives.
“There are other areas we’d like to have seen included in the 10-point plan or set out in more detail. For example, significant investment will be required to the energy grid to support new technologies and infrastructure. As we upgrade the UK energy grid to accommodate more dispersed power generation and increased electricity consumption, we have an opportunity to decarbonise the transmission network by safely removing SF6 (Sulphur hexafluoride) from medium voltage switchgear and replacing this harmful greenhouse gas with alternatives such as SF6-free air-insulated switchgear – helping the energy sector embrace a net zero future faster.
“We would also like to see more support for upgrade commercial and residential building stock, and a greater focus on addressing energy waste. Our own research at Schneider Electric conservatively estimates that at least 117million tons of carbon emissions is created each year through energy that is generated but lost or wasted.
“It remains to be seen what impact the government’s financial package has, and what more investment may be needed, but progress will ultimately be driven by business investment decisions that embrace the opportunity.”