Government Energy White Paper sets out plans for clean energy system

The government has released its eagerly awaited Energy White Paper which sets out plans for a cleaner energy system as the UK transitions to net zero by 2050.

Building on the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, it outlines the specific steps the government will take over the next decade to cut emissions from industry, transport, and buildings by 230 million metric tonnes – equivalent to taking 7.5 million petrol cars off the road permanently – while supporting hundreds of thousands of new green jobs.

The white paper explains how government plans to transform the UK’s energy system from one that was historically based on fossil fuels to one that is fit for a net zero economy, changing how we heat our homes and travel, doubling our electricity use, and harnessing renewable energy supplies. The government says it is putting affordability at the heart of the UK’s shift away from fossil fuels, at least £6.7 billion will be used to tackle fuel poverty over the next six years. In addition, the £2bn Green Homes Grant announced will be extended by a further year.

It also establishes a UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS) from 1 January 2021 to replace the current EU ETS at the end of the Transition Period.

Touching on various sectors, the white paper pledges to support 220,000 jobs across major infrastructure projects for power generation, carbon capture storage and hydrogen as well as a major programme of retrofitting homes for improved energy efficiency and clean heat.

Business and Energy Secretary Alok Sharma said: “Today’s plan establishes a decisive and permanent shift away from our dependence on fossil fuels, towards cleaner energy sources that will put our country at the forefront of the global green industrial revolution. Through a major programme of investment and reform, we are determined to both decarbonise our economy in the most cost-effective way, while creating new sunrise industries and revitalising our industrial heartlands that will support new green jobs for generations to come. With this long-term plan, we are turning climate ambition into climate action – putting the UK firmly on the course to net zero to end our contribution to climate change as we build back greener.”

Emma Pinchbeck, Chief Executive at Energy UK, said: “Today’s White Paper reveals the scale and opportunity of the energy transition, with aims in it to at least double the amount of clean electricity produced today, start making our homes warmer and greener, and help the switch to electric vehicles. The energy industry will do our bit to innovate, supporting our customers so that they benefit from the net zero transition and investing in the green infrastructure we need – but clear policies from government help us do that. This is what the White Paper – and other publications over the next year – should provide.”