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Ten Point Plan reactions: A ‘vital step forward’, but does it go far enough?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Image: The Conservative Party.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Image: The Conservative Party.

Late last night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson released his Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution to a mixed response from the energy sector.

While many have welcomed bringing forwards the ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars to 2030, the absence of generation technologies like onshore wind, solar and storage has drawn criticism.

Companies, groups and charities operating in the energy and environmental space gave Current± their reactions to the long awaited ‘milestone’ of a plan.

RenewableUK's deputy chief executive Melanie Onn

"Offshore wind is set to become the backbone of the UK’s electricity system, providing over a third of our power by 2030, and we can rapidly develop green hydrogen to decarbonise shipping, aviation and industry. The Prime Minister’s new 2030 hydrogen target is a vital signal to investors and the market, and we will work with Government to ensure our world-leading renewable hydrogen technologies play a full part in meeting that target.

“We know that reaching net zero emissions is going to mean transforming our energy system and large parts of our economy, and the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan is a vital step forward. Industry and Government are work closely together to secure the of billions in private investment in clean energy infrastructure, and the tens of thousands of high-quality green jobs across the UK to build it”.

Dr Jonathan Marshall, head of analysis at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU)

"These points tick off a number of the major policy decisions needed to get the UK demonstrably back on track to its net zero target.

“Bold action on electric transport, easily the biggest pro-climate action from a UK Government since hastening the end of coal power, will make huge ripples overseas, giving a signal to car manufacturers around the world that the future is green, and bolstering Britain’s standing ahead of the vital COP26 conference in late 2021, hosted by the UK in Glasgow.

“However, gaps still remain. Onshore wind and solar energy remain unsupported, long shots such as modular nuclear power and direct air capture may not pay off, and natural solutions to climate change – planting trees and restoring peat bogs – remain largely overlooked and ignored."

Frank Gordon, head of Policy at REA

“This is a major day for the building of green industries in the UK. The electric vehicle charging infrastructure sector stands ready to roll-out enough charge points to meet demand so long as a supportive regulatory regime is in place.

“While we welcome the extension of the Green Homes Grant, we also believe it should be extended to cover more technologies such as energy storage and thermal batteries.”

“Additionally, it is great to see the role of Organics recognised in protecting and restoring the natural environment.”

Simon Virley, head of Energy and Natural Resources at KPMG UK

“Investors will want to see the details of the policies and delivery mechanisms in the upcoming Energy White Paper and other policy statements to back up the grand ambitions set out by the Prime Minister.”

“10 years ago, after the financial crash, ‘green’ technologies were often seen as an expensive luxury. Now, with renewables reaching cost parity with fossil fuels and electric vehicles becoming comparable with petrol and diesel cars (on a lifetime cost basis), going ‘green’ is seen as a way to create jobs and investment.”

On offshore wind: “If the Government is serious about achieving 40GW of offshore wind by 2030, it will need to start now on a programme of removing the non-financial barriers, like grid connections and consenting, plus start reforming the market framework to attract the necessary private sector investment.”

On green finance: “The UK has a unique opportunity in the run up to COP26 to set the gold standard in terms of corporate disclosure and reporting on climate risks. The aim should be to get other countries to follow our lead, so that a way forward on global reporting standards can be agreed in Glasgow.”

David Smith, chief executive at Energy Networks Association

“We not only welcome the plans to turbocharge the roll-out of electric vehicles, level-up offshore wind, and commit to a hydrogen bonanza, but look forward to delivering them - supporting skilled, green jobs and cutting the country's emissions at best value and least disruption to the public.”

Danielle Lane, UK Country manager for Vattenfall,

“This plan lays the groundwork for action in multiple areas, enabled by low-cost renewable power generation which is ready to be deployed now. Stimulating demand for hydrogen will be a game changer for hard to treat sectors such as heavy industry and transport, while electrification of ship to shore power will drive down maritime emissions. We also look forward to more detail on decarbonising heating next year- which is responsible for a third of UK emissions.

"This is a pivotal moment in the transition to a green economy and puts us on course for real progress in the fight against climate change as we run up to COP26."

Caroline Bragg, head of Policy at the ADE

“Fixing our drafty, leaky, cold homes matters to voters up and down the country. It brings the green industrial revolution to every voter in every constituency.

“Retrofit will mean jobs for installers, technicians and back office staff - supporting young apprentices and those retraining. Industry is just getting started with the first vouchers of the Green Homes Grant and we welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to extending the national buildings retrofit programme.

“We are also delighted to see the Government moving decisively towards supporting hydrogen production in the UK for use in heavy industry.”

Bean Beanland of the Heat Pump Federation

“The PM’s statement is excellent news for the heat pump sector. However, a clear and stable medium to long-term policy framework from the Government will be required to ensure that private investment funds, which we know to be available, can be drawn into the industry. The heavy lifting must start now to ramp up the manufacture of heat pumps in the UK and their increased deployment in people’s homes up and down the country. Working in partnership with Government, there is also a job to do to communicate the benefits of heat pumps to consumers.”

Amanda Stretton, Centrica Sustainable Transport editor

“It’s important that we now address the supporting structures needed to deliver the ban. Electric vehicles remain more expensive than petrol and diesel equivalents, so we are pleased to see further initiatives from the Government in order to make the transition more affordable for all, including the continuation of support for charging infrastructure given the key role it plays. We support a Zero Emission Mandate for car manufacturers to ensure the new 2030 date can be met, but in the interim EV purchase grants will need to continue.

“But cost isn’t the only barrier; charging infrastructure and energy systems will need be upgraded to cope with the demand. For example, we are working with businesses to install smart charging systems which help automate charging at times which does not put pressure on the grid. This helps regulate demand and ensures customers get the best deal on electricity prices.”

Ed Miliband MP, Labour’s Shadow Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary

“The funding in this long-awaited announcement doesn’t remotely meet the scale of what is needed to tackle the unemployment emergency and climate emergency we are facing, and pales in comparison to the tens of billions committed by France and Germany.

“Only a fraction of the funding announced today is new. We don’t need rebadged funding pots and reheated pledges, but an ambitious plan that meets the scale of the task we are facing and – crucially – creates jobs now.

“That’s why Labour called for the Government to bring forward £30bn of capital investment over the next 18 months and invest it in low-carbon sectors now as part of a rapid stimulus package to support 400,000 additional jobs. Make no mistake – this announcement from the Government falls well short of what is required.”

Madeleine Greenhalgh, policy lead for the Electricity Storage Network

“While we’ve seen high levels of ambition on decarbonisation from this government, we’ve been waiting some time for a delivery plan of how to reach those ambitions; this announcement is a really welcome step at the start of that journey. The plan rightly looks to new innovation, but we already have the technologies at our fingertips, such as storage, to get us a long way towards net zero, given the enabling policies and plans to deliver them. We eagerly await the long-overdue Energy White Paper and the Heat and Buildings Strategy to detail this support.”

Clare Jackson, co-lead of the Hydrogen Taskforce Secretariat

“Since March 2020, we have advocated Hydrogen has the potential to play a key role in decarbonisation across our economy, ranging from transport to domestic heating to industrial processes, this resource is well positioned to play a leading role in the UK’s transition to a cleaner and lower-carbon energy system.

“The Prime Minister’s announcement demonstrates that the Government shares our vision for hydrogen, and we remain committed to working with government departments and politicians of all stripes to ensure that this country reaches Net Zero.”

Friends of the Earth’s head of policy Mike Childs

“Despite a number of positive commitments, the Prime Minister’s 10 point plan falls far short of the ambitious policy overhaul needed to demonstrate real global leadership on the climate crisis.

“While the phase-out of petrol and diesel cars and the pledge to build a much larger offshore wind industry are very welcome, the government must also encourage the development of onshore wind and commit to ending gas-fired heating in our homes. Without a much swifter switch to heat pumps the UK’s carbon commitments may not be met.

“We have the ability to build a zero-carbon future, but we need tough and urgent action from our politicians at all levels - and with the world spinning towards catastrophic climate change we don’t have time to waste.”

Emma Pinchbeck, Energy UK’s chief executive

“We can only reach the Net Zero target with efforts on all fronts, so we welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment in the 10 Point Plan today. The energy industry will power delivery on most of the Prime Minister’s bold targets, like those for electric vehicles, heat pumps, and energy efficiency – and on the investment in technologies, like hydrogen, nuclear and wind. Businesses see the massive potential for showing global leadership on the green economy as we also host the UN climate change negotiations in 2021 and rebuild after the pandemic.”

Lord Deben, chairman of the Climate Change Committee

“I am delighted to see the breadth of the Prime Minister’s commitment. This must now be turned into a detailed road map – so we all know what’s coming down the track in the years ahead. Our homes, the way we travel, our industries, our land, and all of us individually have a role to play as we strive to lead the world in tackling climate change.”

Chris Stark, chief executive of the Climate Change Committee

“The plans announced today will transform Britain for the better, bringing new opportunities and new investment. This is our path out of the economic challenges created by the COVID crisis. And it is a set of commitments that will raise the UK’s credibility ahead of the pivotal COP26 climate summit next year. This is just the tonic as we look to 2021.”

Luke Murphy, head of the IPPR Environmental Justice Commission

"What has been announced does not yet amount to the action and investment that is needed to get the UK on track for net zero and restore nature. IPPR analysis has shown that the government is currently only investing a little over a tenth of the funds needed to meet net zero and restore nature, and what is being announced today will not bridge the gap.

"The government must quickly bring forward a full plan to deliver a fair transition to net zero. This must include a net zero and nature rule, so that every new policy meets our wider environmental objectives, and a skills strategy to support workers in carbon intensive industries and the young unemployed to move into clean and well-paid jobs.

"While the new investment today is welcome, the government must also commit to investing the full £33 billion that is needed each year to meet our climate goals. For instance, the target for the delivery of 600,000 heat pumps is welcome but is not underpinned by either the strategy or investment that is required to deliver it. The investment planned for sustainable public transport and nature are also still significantly short of what is needed."

Ian Johnston, CEO of Osprey Charging

“Today’s announcement is a truly watershed moment in the UK’s transition to cleaner transport. It sends a clear message to industry and the general public and that we must act now to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.”

“The spotlight is now on industry and government to ensure that the necessary charging infrastructure is in place to make the switch to electric as frictionless as possible for motorists. The private sector is deploying a vast network of reliable and accessible public charging points and the government must also step up action to fund infrastructure in rural areas and create an attractive trading environment for EV supply. When broadband was rolled out, we saw huge delays in rural areas, the effects of which are still felt today – we must not let that happen again.”

Patrick Erwin, policy and markets director at Northern Powergrid

"The Government’s Ten Point Strategy is a turning point in the UK’s path to net zero and in the Government’s levelling up agenda. As the Distribution Network Operator for the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, it is incredibly positive to see our region playing a leading role in the transition. Green energy will be the cornerstone on which we build the Northern Powerhouse, as renewable technologies like offshore wind bring new jobs and opportunities into the area.

Simon Daniel, CEO and founder of Moixa

“We need a bold green financing plan to match. This plan should help us build back better without increasing the long-term tax or debt burden – this is possible. We need to reimagine economic and pension policy with ideas from the sharing economy, and new energy and sharing technologies to create jobs that deliver low carbon energy services. Only by joining together the finance requirement with existing unfunded pension liabilities, can an effective path to achieving net zero by 2050 be achieved.”

Dr Amrit Chandan, CEO and co-founder of Aceleron

“This is an ambitious and admirable strategy from the government, and while we welcome the acceleration of EV uptake, we need innovative policy and creative engineering to ensure we don’t end up with a glut of expensive car batteries going to waste in 10 years.

“By 2030, it is estimated there will be 11 million tonnes of EV battery waste alone, enough to fill Wembley Stadium almost 20 times. This will only increase as the ICE ban comes forward. We are calling on the government to engage with industry and invest in circular economy infrastructure that will support the reuse and repurposing of batteries to minimise waste and maximise the potential of raw materials. This is an opportunity for the UK to showcase its world leading innovation credentials to deliver net zero waste, alongside net zero energy.”

Darren Walsh, head of Power at global legal business, DWF

" Having a clear strategy focused on the development of the nascent hydrogen market with a clear emphasis on green hydrogen will be key to this. Hydrogen is by no means the panacea to net zero carbon, but it must play a key part in the UK's strategy with a focus on addressing domestic and commercial sources of heating; as well as the transport sector. Businesses must now use this Plan set out by the Government to search out innovative solutions to go green."

Simon Colvin, partner and head of energy and utilities at law firm Weightmans

“The potential for hydrogen technology as a key part of a greener energy mix has long been recognised, but arguably hasn’t been unleashed. The announcement of the aim to generate 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 sees the government put further weight behind hydrogen as a fuel for the future.

“However, while the hydrogen economy is ripe for further development, so too is its regulatory framework. More work on the legislation enabling and restricting hydrogen’s use and storage will help drive a safe and effective mass roll-out, as well as helping to strengthen investor confidence in future technologies and hydrogen infrastructure.”

“The government has, quite literally, put its money where its mouth is when it comes to delivering on the country’s ambitious environmental targets.

STA chief executive Chris Hewett

“It is disappointing that Number 10 has yet to grasp the opportunity presented by solar in the UK. Not only is it set to be the cheapest power source for years to come, it also provides good jobs and business opportunities up and down the country.”

Robert Buckley, head of Retail and Relationship Development at Cornwall Insight

“The energy industry and its customers have desperately needed clarity on how the government intends to meet its net zero goal. The Prime Minister’s announcement lays the scene for some big industry changes, and now that the Prime Minister has set his agenda, the energy sector has a genuine opportunity to take control of its low-carbon future.

“This is the moment that the UK energy policy has been formally co-opted to the energy agenda and lays down the marker for the decades ahead. The 10-point plan sets the high-level principles, and the Energy White Paper and the net zero spending review will help add flesh to the bones.

“There is no doubt that this is an ambitious plan which should be welcomed. However, there needs to be questions asked over whether the underlying spending commitment is enough to deliver the desired outcome of net zero by 2050.”

Tony Dalwood, CEO of Gresham House plc

“It is positive to see investment planned for carbon capture initiatives as building the UK’s storage capacity for growth in renewables will be crucial.

“The City should be ambitious in aiming to build itself as a hub for green finance in the future. We have seen a growing appetite from long-term investors in the last decade to back sustainable and ESG-driven projects and to provide a greener future for all, providing both financial returns but also meaningful societal and environmental benefits. We are also seeing funding from the private markets into green infrastructure and ESG funds increasing and undoubtedly this will continue over the next year. Alternative fund managers are well-placed to manage this growth in asset allocation through their existing platforms in the long-term future as demand for sustainable investment continues.”

Robert Cheesewright, director at Smart Energy GB

"Without the necessary upgrades to our energy system by way of smart meters, and increasing the number of vehicle-to-grid charging points in homes, we risk failure.

"With the necessary upgrades to our energy infrastructure and the completion of the smart meter rollout, the nation will have a resilient smart energy network with the ability to match supply from intermittent renewables with the increased demand that will come from electric vehicles and home heating. With consumer confidence that a smart energy system can generate or call upon sufficient supplies when needed we are certain that we will see a greater shift of attitudes towards electric vehicles."

Sanjay Neogi, head of UK and Europe, Enzen Group

“This is a great ambition from the Government, however, what we can't afford are delays. The plan requires the roll-out of huge infrastructure projects, so we need a roadmap to orchestrate all stakeholders into action. Bringing forward decarbonisation deadlines like fossil fuel car bans is welcome, but an acceleration in infrastructure deployment must accompany the shorter timeframe.”

Iain Bevan, commercial manager – Heating & Renewables at eco-technology brand Daikin UK

“It’s great news that the Green Homes Grant is being extended until at least 2022. Although we await more details on what this entails, it is vital that heat pumps continue to be included if we are to successfully move away from fossil-fuel based heating.

“Heat pumps are a well-established technology that can be immediately and efficiently implemented across the UK to substantially reduce carbon emissions. And, because heat pumps are so efficient, they produce 45% fewer carbon emissions compared to a gas boiler, and 59% fewer than an oil boiler – a reduction of up to 43.5 tonnes of carbon emissions over the system’s lifetime per home.”

Adrian Letts, CEO Energy Retail, OVO

"There are some big bets on new energy technologies but what we really need is faster deployment of what we already have and smarter ways to integrate them into people's homes. Regulation needs to change urgently to make this happen.

"Finally we need to think deeply about who pays for the transition. The cost continues to fall disportionately on the most vulnerable in society through their energy bills and we need to address that before the public loses faith."

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