With the UK government committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions nationwide, it has launched the Clean Growth Strategy — a proposal in how to build a lower-carbon future for the UK.
The in-depth document, produced by the UK’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) can be downloaded here, if you don’t have time to read all 165 pages though, then energy experts,Flogas, have broken it down for you. Here’s a summary of the strategy’s key points and what they will mean for homes and businesses in the UK.
The UK’s climate change commitment
It’s important to understand what the reasoning behind the Clean Growth Strategy is.
The UK introduced the Climate Change Act in 2008, becoming the first nation worldwide 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).
Are we going to meet the target?
In one word, yes. Figures published by BEIS in March 2017 showed that the UK is on its way to meeting this target soon, with an overall carbon emission drop of 42% 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.
How the Clean Growth Strategy can help
The Clean Growth Strategy’s policies and proposals aim to accelerate the pace of ‘clean growth’ by decreasing emissions and increasing economic growth. With that in mind, the 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.
To turn this vision into a reality, the government has pledged to roll out lower-carbon processes, systems and technologies nationwide – doing so in the most cost-effective way possible for businesses and homes alike.
What are the key proposals of the Clean Growth Strategy?
The strategy homes in on six significant areas which make up 100% of carbon emissions in 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).
You can find the full list of 50 pledges in this executive summary.
What this means for homes and businesses
The government will encourage homes, businesses and industrial operations to minimise their carbon footprint. 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.
This means increasing the uptake of renewable technologies, such as heat pumps and solar panels, in the long term, but also looking towards using cleaner conventional fuels over those which are more polluting. 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.
Of course, natural gas will remain a popular choice for properties that are connected to the mains network because of its affordability, accessibility, and as it is the lowest-carbon fossil fuel available. Flogas, which specialises in gas installation, expects to see this part of its business continue to go from strength to strength.
The company, which has been a key player in the energy sector for more than 30 years believes that the ‘green gas’ phenomenon (natural gas injected with a proportion of environmentally friendly biogas) will continue to rise in popularity as the Clean Growth Strategy rolls out.
Clean Growth Strategy reaction
There has been a vast amount of support from key industry figures since the unveiling of the Clean Growth Strategy.
Lee Gannon, Managing Director of Flogas, said: “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.”
Trade body Oil & Gas UK also supports the strategy. The company’s Upstream Policy Director, Mike Tholen, commented: “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.”