The UK government has recently announced ambitious plans to scale up affordable, clean, homegrown power and build thriving green industries in the country, in a bid to reduce household bills for the long term and maintain a world-leading position in achieving net zero.
The new department's mission is to power the country with a range of renewable energy sources, including wind and solar power, hydrogen, power with carbon capture, usage, and storage (CCUS) technologies, and new nuclear plants. While recognising the important role that UK oil and gas will play in the transition, the government is determined to make the UK more energy independent and resilient to volatile international energy markets.
Cleaner, more reliable energy sources
The government has taken steps to shield consumers and companies from the worst effects of these price increases, paying around half a typical household's bill over the winter and half the wholesale energy costs paid by some businesses. After decades of reliance on importing expensive, foreign fossil fuels, the government is now attempting to deliver a radical shift in the country's energy system towards cleaner, more affordable energy sources to power more of Britain from Britain.
These plans will help deliver on the Prime Minister's promise to grow the economy across the country by:
- Supporting almost half a million new green jobs by 2030
- Creating a strategic advantage in new clean industries
- Generating opportunities for UK businesses to export their expertise around the world.
The measures announced by the government include a world-leading commitment to carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS), with the first projects set to progress to the next stage of negotiations to rollout the first carbon capture clusters in the country's industrial heartlands. The government has also launched a round for areas to apply for two additional future clusters, with an opportunity for further projects to be added to the first two clusters. These announcements build on the £20 billion CCUS funding.
Net Zero Hydrogen Fund
The government is also kickstarting investment into the UK's emerging floating offshore wind industry by launching a £160 million fund to support port infrastructure projects, securing the UK's leadership in this new technology. Backing the first tranche of new green hydrogen production projects under the £240 million Net Zero Hydrogen Fund is part of the development of this new power source.
The government is also opening the fifth round of the UK's world-leading scheme to incentivise investment in renewable electricity, backed by a budget of £205 million. Contracts for Difference will build on the UK levy-funded support for renewable power since 2010 of around £80 billion.
Great British Nuclear, led by Simon Bowen as interim Chair and Gwen Parry-Jones OBE as interim Chief Executive Officer, will launch a new competition to select the best small modular reactor technologies for development by Autumn. The government is also speeding up the planning process to attract investment and reforming the planning process to enable the building of more energy infrastructure, including solar power and offshore wind projects, more quickly.
The government is cutting household bills by expanding government energy efficiency support to even more households through the Great British Insulation Scheme, which will upgrade 300,000 of the country's least energy efficient homes. More than £380 million will also be invested into boosting electric vehicle (EV) charging points and infrastructure across the country to support the rollout of electric vehicles.
Heat Pump Investment Accelerator
The government is also reducing the country's reliance on fossil fuels to heat buildings through a new £30 million Heat Pump Investment Accelerator designed to leverage £270 million private investment to boost manufacturing and supply of heat pumps in the UK. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme, which offers a £5,000 grant to anyone buying a heat pump, will be extended to 2028. Furthermore, UK Export Finance will receive an extra £10 billion capacity to boost exports, including from the UK's world-leading clean growth sectors.
The Heat Pump Investment Accelerator and the Boiler Upgrade Scheme will also offer opportunities for transmission and distribution networks to support the rollout of new heat pump technology and create new infrastructure to support the growth of electric vehicles.
What does this mean for Transmission and Distribution networks?
The government's "Power Up Britain" plan is an important step towards achieving a sustainable future for the country. By prioritising domestic renewable energy sources and reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels, the UK can become a leader in clean energy and create a more secure and prosperous future for all its citizens.
Transmission and Distribution networks will be instrumental in facilitating the delivery of affordable, clean, homegrown power across the country. The development of new infrastructure, such as carbon capture clusters and port facilities to support floating offshore wind projects, will require collaboration between the networks and the government. Additionally, the rollout of more electric vehicle charging points and the upgrading of homes through the Great British Insulation Scheme will require transmission and distribution networks to provide reliable and efficient power to households.
Power Up Britain will also provide opportunities for Innovators to showcase their expertise and develop new solutions for the energy industry. As the UK continues to pursue its net zero ambitions, the EIC Innovator community and Partners will play a critical role in driving innovation and supporting the country's transition to a low-carbon economy.