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    UK Unveils Industrial Decarbonisation Plan: Update


Over $1.4bn have been earmarked for low-carbon industry and space heating in public buildings.

by: William Powell

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UK Unveils Industrial Decarbonisation Plan: Update

(Adds comment from upstream industry)

The UK government has announced over £1 ($1.39)bn funding to cut carbon emissions with its Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, it said March 17. It will be the "world’s first low-carbon industrial sector."

Part of the government’s path to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the measures will create and support 80,000 UK jobs over the next 30 years while cutting emissions by two-thirds in just 15 years, it said.

The plan is to support industry's attempts to decarbonise and encourage the growth of new, low carbon industries in the UK as well as give businesses long-term certainty to invest in home-grown decarbonisation technology. That includes carbon capture and storage (CCS) linked to industrial plants instead of outsourcing industrial activity to high-emission countries around the world. 

The blueprint envisages 20 TWh/yr of UK industry’s energy supply switching from fossil fuel sources to low carbon alternatives by 2030, so that industry can meet around 40% of total energy consumption. 

Of the £1bn, £171mn have been allocated to nine green tech projects in Scotland, south Wales and northwest, Humber and Teesside in England, to undertake engineering and design studies for the rollout of decarbonisation infrastructure, such as CCS and hydrogen.

Hospitals, schools and council buildings are also to be included, with £932mn directed to 429 projects across England. This will fund heat pumps and energy efficiency measures such as insulation and light emitting diodes for lighting. 

Secretary of state for Business and Energy Kwasi Kwarteng said the UK was "the first major economy to put into law our target to end our contribution to climate change, and today we’re taking steps to be the first major economy to have its own low-carbon industrial sector."

He said the strategy "builds on this winning formula as we transition low carbon and renewable energy sources, while supporting the competitiveness of Britain’s industrial base."

Other key commitments within the strategy include using carbon pricing to make industry take account of emissions in business and investment decisions; a policy framework to ensure uptake of fuel switching in industry to hydrogen, electricity or biomass; and a targeted approach to mitigate against carbon leakage that meets the government’s domestic and global climate goals, while keeping businesses competitive.

Government will also work with the newly re-constituted Steel Council to consider the implications of the recommendation of the Climate Change Committee to "set targets for ore-based steelmaking to reach near-zero emissions by 2035."

Employers' group Confederation of British Industries said the Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy "marks another vital step in the UK’s plans ahead of COP26. "This is a welcome demonstration of the UK’s commitment to act on climate change, to make our post-pandemic recovery a green one, and to give businesses the certainty they need to invest in the technologies of the future.”

Upstream welcomes the initiative

Commenting on the initiative, upstream group Oil & Gas UK (OGUK)’s sustainability director, Mike Tholen said: “Many of our members are already active in decarbonisation projects and committed to bringing carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and offshore floating wind projects to life across the UK. This industrial decarbonisation strategy will help accelerate progress in net-zero incubator projects as well as enabling our world-class supply chain to develop new low carbon solutions.

"Around the UK, our members are involved in industrial clusters of low carbon projects including Net-Zero Teesside, Peterhead’s Acorn Carbon Capture and Storage, Offshore Wind on Dogger Bank and Hywind in the North Sea to help deliver the UK’s net zero ambitions. In the future, their essential expertise in developing cleaner energy systems will be in great demand as other countries around the world seek to address the challenge of climate change.”