In the week we welcome a new Prime Minister into office, Energy UK is submitting its response to the Net Zero Review, showing how the transition to a Net Zero power system contributes significantly to Levelling Up the country, boosting economic activity and lowering energy bills for consumers.
The rising cost-of-living will undoubtedly be at the top of the Prime Minister’s agenda, and accelerating the move away from the UK’s dependence on fossil fuels must form a part of the Government’s long-term response to this challenge. Indeed, the Net Zero Review is an opportunity to state plainly the benefits that a Net Zero power system will bring to the UK, its economy, people and climate. The evidence that Energy UK has submitted builds the case strongly for the new Prime Minister to stay the course, and continue providing the long-term confidence needed by consumers, investors and businesses to accelerate the transition.
In recent months, the Prime Minister has spoken often about the economic challenges that this country is facing. The publication of Energy UK’s Energy in the UK report was well-timed in this respect, evidencing how the energy industry already contributes to building a strong economy, and its findings are cited throughout our response to the Net Zero Review. The webinar we held in September ‘Towards Net Zero: The energy industry leading the way also saw members give practical, real-world examples as to how they are supporting the transition.
We used our response to highlight the potential for the UK’s global leadership in emerging markets and technologies and the associated export opportunities. According to the Government’s estimates, the global market for low-carbon exports is expected to reach almost £2 trillion by 2030, and the UK is well-placed to exploit this potential. For example, the UK is already a leader in the floating wind sector and this can be cemented with the right policy framework in place. Elsewhere, the development of small modular reactors and advanced modular reactor technologies represent an opportunity in terms of technological innovation, job creation and export potential.
While the scale of the opportunity is clear, and the ambition of industry well-documented, there are significant barriers that the Government must work with industry, consumers and the regulator to dismantle. This includes urgently reforming and streamlining processes such as the planning system and network reinforcements to reduce risk and delay in low-carbon generation projects and new connections being brought forward. A legislative framework for Net Zero is also necessary, and by passing the draft Energy Bill the Government can provide confidence to the market and investors developing new propositions. A Net Zero Test that ensures that policy making across all Government departments is aligned with the 2050 target will further facilitate the development of this framework. And finally, Government has an important role to play in engaging retail and business consumers in the energy transition, supporting behaviour change and explaining the benefits and opportunities presented by a Net Zero carbon emissions economy.
Energy UK’s response to the Net Zero Review incorporated significant input from its members, who were enormously generous with their time and contributions in developing the final submission. The final response can be accessed in full here. Going forwards, we will continue to work with Government and show how the energy industry is leading the way towards Net Zero.