The government has outlined its proposed approach to building a lower-carbon future for the whole of the UK with the release of its Clean Growth Strategy. It’s also part of their commitment to bring down greenhouse gas emissions throughout the nation.
You can click here to read the entire document, which was put together by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The fact it’s 165 pages long though means you may not have the time to scroll through the entire publication. However, gas installation suppliers Flogas have provided this summary of the key points, as well as what the Clean Growth Strategy means for both homes and businesses throughout the UK…
Understanding the UK’s commitment to climate change
There is background legislation that resulted in the Clean Growth Strategy being published in the first place. This is because in 2008, the UK introduced the Climate Change Act, and through this became the first nation in the world to self-impose a legally binding carbon reduction target. The crux of it? To reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels).
Is the UK close to reaching its target?
The UK certainly is on its way to achieving the target, if BEIS figures which were published in March 2017 are anything to go by. In fact, overall carbon emissions have dropped by 42 per cent 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.
The helping hand that the Clean Growth Strategy can provide
The Clean Growth Strategy looks to accelerate the pace of ‘clean growth’ through a series of policies and proposals. There are two clear goals among these policies and proposals — to decrease emissions and to increase economic growth. 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.
Lower-carbon processes, systems and technologies have been pledged by the government to be rolled out across the UK in order to make this vision a reality. All of this will also be done in the most cost-effective way possible for businesses and homes alike.
Key proposals of the Clean Growth Strategy
There are six key areas which the proposals set out on the Clean Growth Strategy focus on, with these six areas responsible for 100% of carbon emissions currently recorded throughout the UK…
- 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)
Read through all 50 pledges of the Clean Growth Strategy within this executive summary.
Why the Clean Growth Strategy is important for homes and businesses across the UK
The Clean Growth Strategy in effect sees homes, businesses and industrial operations throughout the UK being encouraged to reduce their carbon footprint via a series of measures — with support also being provided by the government to aid their efforts. 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.
Boosting the uptake of renewable technologies — such as through the use of biomass boilers, solar panels and heat pumps — is just one step in the process though. Brits should also begin to favour cleaner conventional fuels over more polluting ones. 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.
Buildings connected to the mains network will surely remain to see natural gas as a popular choice of energy. This is not only because of its affordability and accessibility, but also because it is the lowest-carbon fossil fuel available. Flogas, which specialises in highly competitive commercial mains gas, expects to see this part of its business continue to go from strength to strength.
Flogas — experts in the energy sector for over 30 years — goes on to predict that the ‘green gas’ phenomenon, which sees natural gas injected with a proportion of environmentally friendly biogas, will become more popular as the Clean Growth Strategy begins to be rolled out.
How industry figures have reacted to the Clean Growth Strategy
The Clean Growth Strategy has been supported by a number of key industry figures since it was detailed.
Flogas’ Managing Director Lee Gannon commented: “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.”
Support for the strategy has also been provided by Oil & Gas UK. Mike Tholen, the trade body’s Upstream Policy Director, stated: “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.”