The government has launched the Clean Growth Strategy, as part of its commitment to the nation’s carbon footprint. The strategy outlines the government’s planned scheme to achieve a cleaner, greener Britain.
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has complied the detailed document, which you can download in full at the end of this article. It’s a hefty read at 165 pages, so commercial gas suppliers Flogas have condensed the key aspects down into this handy article.
What is the UK’s commitment?
So we can better understand our current position, let’s take a look at the aspects that lead up to the Clean Growth Strategy.
In a world-first, the UK introduced the Climate Change Act in 2008 and self-imposed a legally binding target for carbon reduction. The crux of it? To reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels).
Are we close to the target?
In March 2017, BEIS revealed figures that showed the UK was on-track for hitting its target, having reduced carbon emissions by 42% since 1990. While this progress is encouraging, the government acknowledges that there is still plenty more work to be done – and that’s where proposals like the Clean Growth Strategy come in.
What will the Clean Growth Strategy do to help?
Briefly, the strategy aims to speed up the process of ‘clean growth’ in two ways. One, by increasing economic growth, and two, by decreasing emissions. With that in mind, the two guiding objectives underpinning the strategy are:
• To meet our domestic commitments at the lowest possible net cost to UK taxpayers, consumers and businesses.
• To maximise the social and economic benefits for the UK from this transition.
To achieve this, the government has vowed to initiate lower-carbon processes, technologies, and systems nationwide. They will be done as cost-effective as possible for homes and businesses.
What are the key proposals?
The proposals from the strategy account for 100% of the UK’s carbon emissions, broken down into six key areas:
• Improving business and industry efficiency (25% of UK emissions)
• Improving our homes (13% of UK emissions)
• Accelerating the shift to low-carbon transport (24% of UK emissions)
• Delivering clean, smart, flexible power (21% of UK emissions)
• Enhancing the benefits and value of our natural resources (15% of UK emissions)
• Leading the public sector (2% of UK emissions)
How will this impact homes and businesses?
Basically, the government is going to help and encourage businesses and homes to minimise their impact on the environment in many ways. A major focus will be reassessing the fuels we use for jobs like heating, cooking, and powering industrial and manufacturing processes – and embracing cleaner, greener alternatives.
This means favourite cleaner fuels over polluting ones, and increasing the use of renewable technology, such as heat pumps and solar panels. For example, for off-grid homes and businesses, the strategy sets out specific plans to phase out high-carbon forms of fossil fuels like oil. As the lowest-carbon conventional off-grid fuel, oil to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) conversions will play a key part in replacing oil in rural parts of the country.
As the lowest-carbon fossil fuel, natural gas will remain a popular choice for mains network connected buildings. Flogas, which specialises in highly competitive commercial mains gas, expects to see this part of its business continue to go from strength to strength.
The company, as an expert in the energy sector for more than 30 years, also forecasts that the ‘green gas’ phenomenon in which natural gas is injected with a proportion of environmentally friendly biogas, will seek a rise in popularity when the Clean Growth Strategy comes into effect.
How the strategy has been received
Key industry figures have met the Clean Growth Strategy with support.
Managing Director of Flogas, Lee Gannon, said: “Through the publication of its Clean Growth Strategy, the government has made clear its intention to reduce carbon emissions from off-grid UK homes and businesses. Natural gas is affordable, versatile, widely available and – most importantly – emits significantly less carbon than the likes of coal and oil. As such, it will continue to play a central role as the UK works towards cleaning up its energy landscape. We look forward to working alongside policymakers and wider industry stakeholders to make the Clean Growth Strategy the success that it deserves to be.”
Mike Tholen, Trade body Oil & Gas UK’s Upstream Policy Director, also voiced support: “Oil & Gas UK welcomes the government’s commitment to technology in the strategy, especially with regards to carbon abatement measures such as carbon capture, usage and storage. Oil & Gas UK looks forward to working with the government to see how these technologies can further reduce emissions across the economy.”
Download the full Clean Growth Strategy document – here.