Government sets out plans for clean energy system and green jobs boom to build back greener

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The UK government has set out ambitious plans to clean up the energy sector, support up to 220,000 British jobs, and keep bills affordable as during the transition to net zero by 2050.

Building on the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the Energy White Paper sets out 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.

Affordability will be at the heart of the UK’s shift away from fossil fuels by boosting competition in the energy retail market to tackle the ‘loyalty penalty’ – longstanding customers who pay more than new ones – and by providing at least £6.7bn in support to the fuel poor and most vulnerable over the next six years.

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.

“At every step of the way, we will place affordability and fairness at the heart of our reforms – unleashing a wave of competition so consumers get the best deals possible on their bills, while protecting the vulnerable and fuel poor with additional financial support. 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.”

Industry reaction

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.”

Rain Newton-Smith, Chief Economist at the Confederation of British Industry, said: “The Energy White Paper is an important next step in our plans to reach our net zero emissions target. Action is needed now, and the welcome focus on job creation around the country, developing sustainable low-carbon industries, and ensuring the transition is fair for consumers will all help us achieve our ambitious climate goals.

“Business stands ready to deliver the investment and innovation needed to turn ambition into reality, and the proposals outlined in the Energy White Paper will give business further confidence to deliver new infrastructure, including electric vehicle charging, renewable power generation and low-carbon upgrades to people’s homes.”

Hugh McNeal, Chief Executive at Renewable UK, said: “Today’s white paper provides greater clarity to the companies investing across the UK to deliver our net zero emissions target. Wind and renewable energy will be at the centre of our future energy system, providing the clean electricity and green hydrogen we need to decarbonise our economy. The next generation of onshore and offshore wind farms will bring tens of billions of pounds of investment to support a green recovery and create thousands of jobs across the country as we transition away from fossil fuels. To meet the goals set out in the white paper, it’s clear that we have to double-down on renewables as the main source of energy for our homes, transport and industry.”

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