Speaking at the Global Investment Summit, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson reinforced his backing of renewable energy technology. He announced the securing of £9.7 billion of funding before claiming “the UK will become the Klondike of carbon capture and storage” as long as the private sector is prepared to play a “pivotal role” in the fight against climate change.
Mr Johnson told the audience he has already struck 18 deals worth a total of £9.7 billion (including a £400 million partnership with Bill Gates) that will create around 30,000 new jobs for the UK. This investment will support innovation and growth in wind and hydrogen energy, sustainable homes and carbon capture, a green manifesto that Mr Johnson defended by saying:
“Green is good. Green is right. Green works. And that is the way ahead for the whole planet."
However, it is only the beginning. The ultimate aim is to reach net zero emissions by 2050 by drastically changing the way the British use electricity, power their vehicles and heat their homes.
At the heart of this will be the development of effective and scalable low-carbon technologies including heat pumps, electric vehicles, carbon capture and storage and hydrogen technology.
The government are confident that along the way they will create 440,000 jobs and unlock £90 billion of private investment by 2030.
He also tied these efforts into the upcoming COP26 UN climate change talks that will take place in Glasgow in November 2021:
“This COP26 must be the moment when the government joins hands with the private sector together. We should be setting the parameters, the strike prices, the Contracts for Difference for this green technology.
“We should be using this moment collectively as government to leverage in the trillions of the market creating the country platforms that will not only tackle climate change but deliver green jobs and green growth around the world.”
Mr Johnson wants the UK’s ‘green revolution’ to spearhead positive action that over time will force as many countries around the world as possible to abandon fossil fuels and commit fully to reaching net zero carbon emissions. He is already confident China and Russia are onboard and working hard to achieve their own net zero targets through their adoption of cleantech.
In terms of targets, the UK government has been bullish in terms of the targets they’ve set for Britain.
They want the UK to be powered by clean electricity by 2035.
They want to have amassed 40 gigawatts of offshore wind power and 1 gigawatt of floating offshore wind by 2030.
They want to deliver 5 gigawatts of hydrogen production capacity by 2030 to cut oil and gas emissions by half.
They want to deliver four carbon capture storage and usage facilities capable of capturing 20-30 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030.
As UK energy prices continue to soar, the government’s plans couldn’t have come at a better time.
The rise in the cost of gas (an increase of 250% in the last year alone) in particular has driven the need to find alternative energy sources as quickly as possible without impacting supply.
While the Prime Minister’s comments may have raised a few eyebrows across the country, the ambition to achieve net zero emissions in such a short time frame must be applauded. What is clear is innovation and invention will play a huge part in successfully realising the targets that have been set.
The race to innovate will only create more competition, and with more competition comes a greater risk of your ideas being misappropriated by your competitors.
If you are involved in the development and delivery of any cleantech projects, you should talk to the patent attorneys and IP solicitors in our specialist energy and cleantech team. They will explain what you will need to do to protect, commercialise and scale up your innovation.