The UK government today released Powering Up Britain, which Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps described as the government’s blueprint for the future of energy in the country.
It outlines the government's actions to diversify, decarbonise and domesticate energy production and involves two complementary plans -- Powering Up Britain: Energy Security Plan and Powering Up Britain: Net Zero Growth Plan.
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The package of measures announced today includes moves to accelerate the deployment of renewables. The government said it is opening the bidding for the fifth round of its contracts for difference (CfD) scheme, which, as previously announced, will have a budget of GBP 205 million (USD 253m/EUR 233m). In addition, it is launching the Floating Offshore Wind Manufacturing Scheme, a GBP-160-million fund to support investment in port infrastructure projects needed to drive floating offshore wind.
The announcement also includes measures to develop a hydrogen economy with the first awards under the GBP-240-million Net Zero Hydrogen Fund (NZHF). The government also published a shortlist of 20 projects to move to the next stage of the first electrolytic hydrogen allocation round. It plans to open two further hydrogen funding rounds in 2023.
The list of measures outlined also includes, among others, investments to support the rollout of electric vehicles, a commitment to Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) and announcing Great British Nuclear, which will drive the delivery of new nuclear projects.
According to industry group RenewableUK, the government’s energy announcements fall short of what is needed against the backdrop of fierce global competition for renewable energy investment.
“The Government has highlighted some important steps forward in existing policies and schemes, but we need much more than a 'business as usual' approach to kickstart investment on the level we need to boost energy security, cut consumer bills and reach net zero,” said RenewableUK’s executive director of policy Ana Musat.
The REA (Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology) welcomed a range of measures announced, including the Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate, consideration of planning reforms and green hydrogen projects.
However, CEO Nina Skorupska stated that "today’s announcements leave significant gaps in vital policy that will provide a route to market for the speedy decarbonisation of power, heat and transport, while moving to a circular economy and addressing the joint climate and energy crises." She also added that "[a] full range of renewable and clean energy technologies are needed to decarbonise our energy systems, many of which continue to be missing from today’s plans."
(GBP 1 = USD 1.233/EUR 1.137)