Thursday 19 November 2020

A Green Industrial Revolution for the UK

This week the Prime Minister unveiled his 10 point plan to tackle climate change. This is the vision to bring about the UK's transition to net zero emissions by 2050 and the plan will focus on the coming decade to 2030.

The plan includes:

Offshore Wind ... confirming a manifesto pledge to increase capacity to 40GW by 2030...includes 1GW of floating offshore wind. This is a really big deal and will provide around 50% of our current energy demand. Clearly some big opportunities for the likes of Vestas and Orsted.

  ... £500m to provide 5GW from low carbon hydrogen by 2030 includings plans to provide home heating solutions with a blend of gas/hydrogen mix for heating by 2023 and a competition to become the country's first hydrogen town. Really good to see the government are switched on to the potential of hydrogen and also good for the likes of ITM Power and Ceres Power!

Nuclear ...less clear on detail but expecting to give the green light to a large operation - probably Sizewell C - as well as a range of small reactors and £525m to help it all along. A big mistake imho.

Electric Vehicles ...the phasing out of petrol/diesel cars by 2030 to accelerate the take up of EVs. This will be the first global major market to take such a big step. There is £1.3bn for the widespread roll-out of charging points and grants for buyers to help them to switch. Maybe top up my Tesla holding! Possibly the biggest change since the days of the horse and carriage!

Carbon Capture
...a plan to remove 10m tonnes of CO2 via this untried technology. The government have been promising this for the past 10 years but nothing has developed and I suspect not much will happen over the coming 10 years...but they will be planting a lot more trees which do capture carbon!

(click to enlarge)

Heat Pumps
...plans to make public buildings and homes more energy efficient which includes a plan to instal 600,000 heat pumps each year by 2028 (currently 26,000). The government will bring forward the date to phase out gas for all new homes to 2023. The Green Homes Grant will be extended by a further 12 months to March 2022.

Other provisions include more provision for cleaner public transport and also cycling/walking, protection and restoration of the natural environment, research for zero emission aircraft and shipping and plans to make London the global centre for green finance.

The government will add a further £4bn of new money making a total of £12bn for these initiatives and expect there will be much more than this coming from industry and the private sector...maybe £40bn in total so not an insignificant amount. However critics say it is a good start but not enough and point to the £100bn for HS2 and the billions spent on the likes of track n trace.

Chris Stark, Chief Executive of the Climate Change Committee said:

“The plans announced today will transform Britain for the better, bringing new opportunities and new investment. This is our path out of the economic challenges created by the COVID crisis. And it is a set of commitments that will raise the UK’s credibility ahead of the pivotal COP26 climate summit next year. This is just the tonic as we look to 2021.”

I agree, this is a good start but will need more finance and policies to get us where we need to be. The governments Energy White Paper should provide some of the nitty-gritty when published next month. Once the ball is rolling it will become easier to add other complimentary provisions - carbon pricing, energy storage, wave power etc. and hopefully get us on track to meet our targets for zero carbon. I think it was important that this came directly from the PM and gives a clear indication to all that the government is serious about climate change.

Of course, for us small investors there will be lots of opportunities to invest in the green technologies which will thrive in the new industrial revolution.

What do you think...are you looking forward to driving EVs? What do you think of the plans generally? Leave a comment below.

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