If you take an interest in the energy politics, or politics in general, you may be aware of the ‘Clean Growth Strategy’, subject to many a headline in the last couple of months. We want to help you understand what’s behind this political buzz word and what the implications for businesses in the UK are.
The clean growth strategy is a blueprint for the UK’s low carbon future and was brought to us last October. The strategy was long-awaited and is expected to bridge the gap between the UK, clean energy, and climate goals.
The strategy has been repeatedly delayed. It was initially to be named ‘Carbon Plan’, then ‘Emission Reduction Plan’, and was supposed be published at the end of 2016. This was delayed further when the Plan evolved to Clean Growth Strategy.
The Clean Growth Strategy is a pathway to decarbonisation and its main objective is for the UK to act on the threats of Climate Change on the country. The Climate Change Act, passed in 2008, made the commitment of Britain reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050. To achieve this, five-year caps on greenhouse gas emissions called ‘Carbon Budgets’ are set. The United Nations Paris Agreement have replicated this process. The UK have done substantially well in reducing green house gases as they have now been reduced over 40%.
The UK Government have been trying to steadily reduce green house gasses by tackling each source. So far, these are some of areas which are being tackled:
Reducing Transport Emissions
The popularity of electric cars in the UK has increased significantly over the last few years. This is due to the UK Government implementing a phase out of petrol and diesel cars, so by the time we approach 2040 they will be banned and completely out of circulation. There has also been a more imminent response to diesel transport as by 2020 there will be a diesel drive tax. This is to encourage people to change their method of transport to the modern option of hybrid / electric vehicles and so, ‘carbon’ vehicles should be completely off the road by 2050.
Renewables Over Coal
The UK Government have made a conscious effort to phase out coal by introducing various renewable energy sources. The figures of the year 2017 highlighted this. It was noted that British wind farms (Onshore Wind) generated more electricity than coal plants on more than 75% of days in 2017. In total, renewables provided three times the amount of electricity as coal over the year 2017.
Focus on Business Buildings
Businesses account for at least 25% of the UK’s emissions. The Government have therefore set new policies out within the Clean Growth Strategy to help reduce emissions from business activities and have proposed targets for the business sector to improve their energy efficiency by at least 20%. This idea was formed following the outcome of the independent review of Building Regulations. Since the UK Government have turned their attention to non-domestic properties, they introduced a new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) which will apply for businesses in England from April 1st this year, and further altercations to Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) regulation which will come into effect in 2023. The Government also want to phase out the installation of high carbon forms of fossil fuel heating in new and existing businesses off the gas grid during 2020, starting with new builds.
These are just some of the changes that are within the Clean Growth Strategy for Britain to reach their golden target. Evidently more work still must be done such as,
- Develop plans for carbon capture and storage technology.
- Discover new ways to drive down emissions from agriculture.
There must be work contributed from all players meaning, not only the UK Government but households, businesses and industries.
If you would like more information on how you could contribute by turning your business greener, please don’t hesitate to get in contact.