United Kingdom to provide £557m funding for new renewable energy projects

United Kingdom to provide £557m funding for new renewable energy projects

"The Clean Growth Strategy will look across the whole of the economy and the country".

The UK government will invest up to £100 million ($132 million) in carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) technology and industrial innovation as part of its Clean Growth Strategy, published on Thursday.

Lawrence Slade, Chief Executive of Energy UK, commented: "It is positive to see the ambitious targets to improve the energy efficiency in our homes and businesses".

As part of the strategy, developers will compete for up to £557 million of funding in Contracts for Difference auctions which drive down energy costs for consumers and increase business confidence. "They have listened to the industry by providing a clearer longer-term trajectory for improving the energy efficiency standards of existing homes, and adopted our own aspiration for upgrading as many of these as possible to EPC Band C by 2035".

The plans were broadly welcomed by the energy industry, but some specific policies drew criticism.

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Driving down emissions from heating has always been a desired area for action among green groups, and the plan pledges to phase out the installation of high carbon fossil fuel heating in new and existing homes now off the gas grid during the 2020s, starting with new homes. The strategy sets out how the government will invest GBP 2.5 billion in low-carbon innovation in the 2015-2021 period, across energy, transport, agriculture and waste.

In a boon for carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) technology proponents, the plan promises to invest £100m in "leading edge CCUS and industrial innovation to drive down costs", and to set up a CCUS Council in partnership with industry to help develop the option of deploying the technology at scale in the United Kingdom and to "maximise its industrial opportunity". Funding is also earmarked for low emission taxis and buses, as well as walking and cycling. The UK wants to focus on supporting developing and creating new technologies and new businesses, helping to grow jobs and prosperity across the UK, while meeting the country's national climate change targets. The next Contracts for Difference auction is planned for spring 2019.

"Recent announcements in the offshore wind and auto manufacturing industries have highlighted how a clear vision, supported by detailed policies, enable the private sector to drive innovation, cut the costs of clean technologies and invest in United Kingdom jobs and supply chains".

However, the Aldersgate Group, an alliance of leaders from business and politics who are pushing for a sustainable economy, said the clean growth strategy sets the UK's economy on a competitive path. The UK Government has much more work to do in putting forward credible policies to close a carbon gap of almost 10% by 2032. However, much of the Carbon dioxide reduction so far has been secured by phasing out coal-fired power plants, and as such facilities fall off the United Kingdom grid more new policies are needed to ensure continued decarbonisation into the 2020s and beyond.

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