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The Chancellor’s next boost for the Green Economy

Welcome steps along the road to carbon net zero… and a welcome cheap meal!

8th July 2020

The good news is that we can all do a lot less washing up at home in August if we take full advantage of Rishi Sunak’s offer to pay 50% of our food bills when we eat out mid-week. Great news many will agree despite still having to pay full price for the accompanying wine or beer!

However, amid the Chancellor’s £30 billion package of measures in today’s “Plan for Jobs” were also a series of significant measures, amounting to over £3 billion, to further support the development of the Green Economy. His lunchtime statement acknowledged that to meet the UK’s target of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, emissions from heating buildings still need to be significantly reduced. In summary the steps announced were:

  • £2 billion committed to better insulation with grants to support homeowners and landlords in making their homes more energy-efficient in 2020-21.
  • £1 billion over the next year in a Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme that will offer grants to public sector bodies, including schools and hospitals, to fund both energy efficiency and low carbon heat upgrades.
  • £100 million of new funding for researching and developing Direct Air Capture, a new clean technology which captures CO2 from the air.
  • £40 million committed to a Green Jobs Challenge Fund for environmental charities and public authorities to create and protect 5,000 jobs in England. The jobs will involve improving the natural environment, including planting trees, restoring habitats, clearing waterways, and creating green space for people and wildlife.
  • £10 million of funding available immediately for the first wave of innovative R&D projects to scale up manufacturing of the latest technology in batteries, motors, electronics and fuel cells.
  • A request for industry to put forward investment proposals for the UK’s first ‘Gigafactory’ and supporting supply chains to mass manufacture cutting-edge batteries for the next generation of electric vehicles, as well as for other strategic electric vehicle technologies.
  • £40 million to improve the environmental sustainability of the courts and tribunals estate in England and Wales, investing in initiatives to reduce energy and water usage.
  • A £50 million demonstrator project for a new Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund to help social landlords improve the least energy-efficient social rented homes.


So how do the Chancellor’s announcements feed into the progress so far on the decarbonisation journey of UK PLC?

Later this month we expect to see the latest publication of the Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES), which provides statistical data on UK energy use.  This will show that the decarbonisation of electricity continues to progress due to the increasing number of renewable generators, which are displacing the few remaining coal-fired power stations. This means that within a decade, carbon emissions from electricity have been halved.

For natural gas the story is very different. We have very little ‘green’ gas and demand has not reduced significantly.  Of around 850TWh of gas used in the UK, only around 100TWh is used by Industry and a similar amount is used by the combined retail, properties and public sector. However, domestic use is over three times higher at over 300TWh.  Most of the remaining consumption is used to generate electricity.

For some time, the Government has incentivised Industry to reduce energy consumption but there has been less focus on other gas users.

The Chancellor’s announcements on insulation grants and decarbonisation schemes show that savings opportunities in domestic, social and public sectors are now being targeted with the potential to realise significant carbon savings, not to mention reductions in energy bills.

The announcement of the ‘Gigafactory’ uses the same terminology as Tesla in developing a huge manufacturing plant dedicated to producing rechargeable batteries.  Such batteries would most likely be used in the growing fleets of electric vehicles, but will also start to appear in some houses, particularly those with solar panels, as part of domestic load management systems.

The timing of these initiatives is designed to help kick-start the economy as we look at an uncertain economic future, but the truth is that Covid-19 will hopefully be eradicated in the next year or two. However, climate change will take much longer to control and sustainability… is forever!

To find out more about how Inenco can help support your own journey to carbon net zero and broader environmental sustainability journey contact us on 08451 46 36 26.