The government’s eagerly-awaited industry strategy has named clean growth as one of the four ‘grand challenges’ which must be embraced by the country.
According to the 255-page document, the move toward low carbon technologies and the efficient use of resources is ‘one of the greatest industrial opportunities of our time’.
‘Whole new industries will be created and existing industries transformed as we move towards a low-carbon, more resource-efficient economy,’ the document states.
In particular, it says the government will launch a new ‘prospering from the energy revolution’ programme to develop local smart energy systems, which will deliver ‘cheaper and cleaner energy’.
It will also build on the rollout of smart meters and work closely with the nuclear and offshore wind sectors to drive down costs.
‘We will also continue to explore the long-term options for clean heating and the many potential uses of low-carbon hydrogen,’ the report adds.
It strategy states the government will also invest £162m in innovation for the low-carbon industry and develop a new strategy around the bio-economy.
And the document says the government will also ‘extend the UK’s global leadership’ in green finance through its new green finance taskforce.
In addition, up to £170m of government funding will also be available to ensure the construction industry builds more energy-efficient homes.
The strategy states the government also plans to work with food businesses to cut food waste by 20% by 2025 and create a new waste and resources strategy.
‘The industrial strategy is an unashamedly ambitious vision for the future of our country, laying out how we tackle our productivity challenge, earn our way in the future, and improve living standards across the country,’ said BEIS secretary, Greg Clark.
Renewables are ‘backbone’
RenewableUK’s chief executive Hugh McNeal said the government has ‘rightly’ put clean growth at ‘the heart of our nation’s industrial strategy’.
‘Renewables are set to become the backbone of our modern energy system and the plummeting cost of wind power means onshore and offshore wind can help improve the competitiveness of UK industry,’ said Mr McNeal.
‘So it’s disappointing that the strategy doesn’t set out how we can use onshore wind, the cheapest new generation source, to power industrial growth.
‘Already, we are exporting our skills and knowledge worldwide, winning multi-million-pound contracts in wind and marine energy, including innovative floating offshore wind projects. If this industrial strategy fully supports these world-leading sectors, it can drive growth across all parts of the UK and create tens of thousands of high-value jobs.’
The chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association, Nina Skorupska, said the new strategy recognises the value that specific sectors, such as the bio-economy, energy efficient construction and electric vehicles bring.
‘The renewable energy and clean tech sectors are growing areas of the economy that are creating new jobs, deploying low-cost energy, and delivering new export opportunities for the UK,’ said Dr Skorupska.
Long-term plan and local approach needed
While the executive director of the Environmental Services Association (ESA), Jacob Hayler, said it was pleased the paper makes several commitments also to the waste and resources sector.
‘[The] ESA is pleased the industrial strategy white paper recognises the importance of maximising the value we extract from our resources,’ said Mr Hayler.
‘Strengthening markets for secondary materials and encouraging design for recyclability are imperative if we are to move to a circular economy, and we welcome the government’s commitment to this.
‘The forthcoming resources and waste strategy must set out a clear long-term plan for how this can be achieved, and must put in place the right policy levers to ensure we have the right infrastructure to deliver greater resource productivity for the benefit of the UK economy and environment.’
ADEPT president, Simon Neilson, said: ‘Rather than argue who should write local industrial strategies, ADEPT welcomes the broad thrust of government’s intent here: to emphasise the role that places and place leadership have in determining a brighter future for the entire country.
‘We are glad that government have listened. Through taking a place based view, ADEPT members will work in their localities to ensure the vital ingredients of success for their places are at the forefront of locally owned and locally driven strategy.
‘We hope that government continue to recognise different approaches in different places will yield better results than one size fits all policy making.’
Photo by steve p2008