In 2019, the UK became the first major economy in the world to legislate to have “net zero” carbon emissions by 2050, meaning we will no longer be a net emitter of greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change.
Over the past decade, the UK has cut carbon emissions by more than any similar developed country. In 2019, UK emissions were 42 per cent lower than in 1990, while our economy over the same period grew by 72 per cent.
The Prime Minister has set out a new Ten Point Plan to create 250,000 new green jobs, tackle climate change and build back greener from coronavirus, making the UK the world leader in clean energy. This focus will create jobs, slash carbon emissions and boost exports. This ten point plan will mobilise £12 billion of government investment, and potentially 3 times as much from the private sector, to create and support up to 250,000 green jobs.
In the Energy and Security Group of BEIS, we work on a whole host of exciting programmes to deliver on this commitment. Our vision is to ensure the UK has a reliable, low cost and clean energy system. The Group’s work includes ensuring energy security, maximising our indigenous energy supplies, ensuring the UK has a well-functioning and competitive energy system bringing new generation capacity on stream, including low-carbon sources of energy, and making sure that we maximise the economic opportunities for the UK’s energy sector, in line with our Industrial Strategy.
We are working to build a stronger, greener future by fighting coronavirus, tackling climate change, unleashing innovation and making the UK a great place to work and do business. We have a truly broad breadth and depth of innovative projects on the horizon, meaning you will have the opportunity to work collaboratively on a wide portfolio of interesting and important work.
Below are some examples of our current priorities in energy:
The UK has the largest installed capacity of offshore wind in the world, with around 10GW in operation off its coasts. Wind will power all UK homes by 2030 following our £160 million investment in ports and factories, to manufacture next generation turbines in places like Teesside and Humber. Business and Energy Secretary Alok Sharma said: “The offshore wind sector is a major British success story, providing cheap, green electricity while supporting thousands of good-quality jobs. Powering every home in the country through offshore wind is hugely ambitious, but it’s exactly this kind of ambition which will mean we can build back greener and reach net zero emissions by 2050.”
Our seas hold immense potential to power our homes and communities with low-cost green energy and we are already leading the way in harnessing its strengths. Government support to unleash the potential of offshore wind generation has seen the cost of it fall by two thirds in the last 5 years.
Now, as we build back better we are building back greener. So, we are committing to new ambitious targets and investment into wind power to accelerate our progress towards net zero emissions. This sets us on our path towards a green industrial revolution.
Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage
A net-zero energy system requires a profound transformation in the way we produce and use energy that can only be achieved with a broad suite of technologies. Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) is an emissions reduction technology with the potential to decarbonise the economy and maximise economic opportunities for the UK. To help us achieve ‘net zero’ we are investing £800 million in CCUS infrastructure. This will allow the UK to become a global technology leader for CCUS and ensure that government has the option of deploying CCUS at scale during the 2030s.
CCUS will support key industrial sectors such as steel, cement and chemicals, creating thousands of jobs across the country. It will also support the development of flexible low-carbon power projects and the deployment and use of innovative negative emissions technologies.
Alongside renewables, nuclear is needed to provide reliable low carbon power when the sun isn't shining, and the wind isn't blowing. On any given day it accounts for between 15-20% of the UK’s electricity needs, but much of our current fleet is approaching the end of its operating life. Our New Nuclear journey has begun with the development of Hinkley Point C.
A nuclear plant is one of the largest infrastructure projects there can be. So come join us, be a key part of the team that is working to enable the UK’s next large-scale nuclear plant, helping deliver our low-carbon energy goals and driving investment and economic activity in the coming years.