Clean Growth Strategy: The green economy responds

This morning the government’s long-awaited Clean Growth Strategy was finally published to a mixed response from the renewables lobby. Here we have collated some of the leading commentary so far.

Jeremy Leggett, founder at Solarcentury:
"The full five pages of proposals do not mention solar PV – the world’s fastest growing power technology, with the lowest prices on offer to many governments – once. HMG’s omission is incomprehensible, given that large British companies like Solarcentury are major active players in this hugely attractive clean-energy growth market, at home and abroad."

Lawrence Slade, chief executive, Energy UK:
"We are pleased that the Clean Growth Strategy recognises the huge progress made in decarbonisation and shares the ambitions of the industry to go further and faster to create a world-leading clean, green economy."

"It is positive to see the ambitious targets to improve the energy efficiency in our homes and businesses. How this will be funded is critical and we will work with Government to shape a national energy efficiency programme that will help reduce energy bills and ensure we meet the targets set out today."

"We must now work in partnership to deliver this strategy. We await further details on many of these areas, including the decarbonisation of heat, and commit to working together to deliver these transformative changes which will reduce emissions, boost the economy and keep bills down for consumers."

Jonathan Marshall, energy analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit:
"Having already made stellar progress in decarbonising the power sector, the clean growth plan has set the bar high on how the Government will tackle the transport and heat sectors. Although many of the policies have been announced before, and there remains a gap between the expected outcome of current policies and legally-mandated carbon targets, reaffirming dedication to cutting emissions across the country shows that the UK is not willing to give up its role as climate leader, despite recent political shocks."

Nina Skorupska, chief executive at the Renewable Energy Association:

"The plan focuses on areas that have not been given a huge amount of time or thought to previously in government, such as industrial efficiency or the built environment, both of which are crucial and can be a win-win."

"However, for many of our members they will see very little substance in this plan and we will have to ensure we are pushing government for how they intend to address the big issues of adding low-carbon generation, greening our heat system, cleaning our transport and leading the decentralisation revolution that will lead to a cheaper and low-carbon future."

James Court, head of policy and external affairs at the Renewable Energy Association:
"In power we need to see much more technology neutral approach, with the cheapest generation onshore wind and solar remaining blocked to market, and the backbone of the low-carbon revolution, bioenergy, forgotten. We cannot have a low cost, low carbon and secure energy transformation without these technologies."

Claire Mack, CEO at Scottish Renewables:
"The renewed support for offshore wind deployment and innovation, and the commitment to work with the industry on a Sector Deal, is to be welcomed, and will help move the UK towards its goal of reducing carbon emissions while delivering affordable energy and clean growth."

"It is however disappointing that no commitment has yet been made to allow onshore wind and solar PV – the cheapest forms of new power generation – to compete for contracts to sell the clean power they produce."

Ed Cox, director at IPPR North:
"We broadly welcome the strategy and in particular its commitment to clean innovation and Carbon Capture Storage and Use but there is a sense for many businesses and investors in the North that this is coming very late in the day and – as with offshore wind – opportunities have been missed."

"With nearly half of the renewables sector already located in the North, our region has the potential for an energy economy worth £15 billion per annum and 100,000 green jobs if government devolves more powers and responsibilities to regional and local players to drive the energy sector forward."

Bruce Davis, managing director at Abundance Investment:
"Abundance welcomes the launch of the clean growth strategy. It shows the importance of investment in the green economy for present and future generations. We look forward to working with the government to ensure we have the finance to deliver this strategy in a way that benefits both the whole UK economy and the whole population through their ISA and pension investments."

Neil Thorns, director of advocacy at CAFOD:

"The UK can be proud of our Climate Change Act and can share our expertise across the world but we must continue to move forward more ambitiously than we have done, for sake of our common home and if we’re to protect vulnerable communities worldwide from the worst impacts of environmental degradation."

Louise Kingham, chief executive at the Energy Institute:
"This breathes new life into decarbonising the UK and the skills that will make it happen.Taking energy efficiency seriously in homes, businesses and industry will cut emissions, bring down bills and increase productivity more effectively than anything else."

"Putting CCS back at the table and action to tackle emissions from heat, alongside renewables, nuclear and electric vehicles make this a credible plan. But meeting the UK’s carbon targets is ultimately a numbers game and the real proof will be in the delivery. Hitting 57% emission reduction by 2030 in a cost-effective way, and realising the big industrial wins that come with that, calls for a no-surprises investment climate."

Robert Marsh, partner at Norton Rose Fulbright:
"From an electricity perspective, the Strategy re-enforces the potential of offshore wind, setting a time-table for the next allocation round for Contracts for Difference and aiming for a Sector Deal for offshore wind, which could result in 10 gigawatts of new capacity, with the opportunity for additional deployment in the 2020s if this is cost effective. Smart systems and demand-side reduction through energy efficiency measures are central features and the revival of ambitions to deploy Carbon Capture Usage and Storage in the UK will come as surprise to many (thought the true extent of that ambition is not clear from the plan)."

Jonathan Wills, CEO at the Energy Technologies Institute:
"We welcome the inclusion today in the strategy of a new renewed focus for CCS development in the UK. We can meet our climate targets without CCS, but it will make it more expensive for the country to do so – potentially doubling the cost. With our natural resources as an island providing ample storage capacity, CCS is an opportunity as a country we can’t and shouldn’t ignore."

“The recent Contracts for Difference [results] for offshore wind is an example of what focused technology innovation combined with consistent policy and market signals, sustained over more than a decade, can achieve. We should not stop here.”

Posted on Oct 20, 2017.

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