The Government has unveiled its much-anticipated Industrial Strategy, outlining plans to transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy. But does the green paper offer enough tangible evidence that we are on the best pathway to a low-carbon economy? The broad consensus of green groups and sustainability professionals in the immediate aftermath of today’s Industrial Strategy paper suggests that the country does, at the very least, have a clear opportunity to drive forward with low-carbon commitments. Underlining the vision of the 132-page Strategy lies a plan to “deliver affordable energy and clean growth”. The Goverment aims to achieve this ambition by upgrading infrastructure, improving supply chains and increasing investment in research and innovation. Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) director Richard Black was among the first to react to that statement. “At first glance, the Industrial Strategy announcement seems to herald evolution not revolution regarding energy and the transition to a low-carbon economy,” Black said. “A commitment to energy security and tackling climate change are taken as givens, but it’s the third leg of the ‘trilemma’ that reveals the opportunities that the Government hopes to grasp, by exploiting innovative new technologies in the most cost-effective way possible.” Today’s paper is not without its shortcomings, however. For instance, the blueprint fails to address the renewable energy policy gaps created in recent years through subsidy cuts for onshore wind and solar panels. In fact, the paper refers to the launch of a new review aimed at lowering the cost of cutting carbon in the power and industrial sectors – which is likely to include reductions in subsidies for offshore wind energy. The text goes on to underlines a “settled policy position” which reflects Government’s commitment to meeting its legally-binding targets under the Climate Change Act, so it appears that little hope exists for renewed financial support for renewables through this plan. Moreover, while low-carbon heat has been often regarded as the failing element of the Government’s green policy, this paper provides no indication of reversing the controversial cut to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). This will come as a matter of concern to this sector, considering that the UK is not even halfway towards reaching a 12% target for heat generated from renewables. Additionally, there was no specific reference for the now-stagnant carbon capture and storage (CCS) industry, although Climate Minister Nick Hurd has previously insisted that the Government is refusing to close the door on the technology.
Edie 23rd Jan 2017 read more »
Prime Minister Theresa May has unveiled plans for a new, more interventionist, industrial strategy, designed to boost the post-Brexit UK economy. The government will be “stepping up to a new, active role”, Mrs May said. The plan was published in a green paper as she held her first regional cabinet meeting in the north-west of England. Broadband, transport and energy are highlighted in a bid to “align central government infrastructure investment with local growth priorities”.
BBC 23rd Jan 2017 read more »
Theresa May’s promise to bolster Britain’s “world-leading” industries through a new industrial strategy was met with faint praise from business leaders amid claims it was little more than a sprawling discussion paper.
FT 23rd Jan 2017 read more »