Millions of draughty homes in England and Wales will be insulated and overhauled by 2035 to save families as much as £300 a year on their energy bills under the government’s climate change plans.
The long-delayed blueprint for how the UK will hit its binding target of cutting emissions by 57 per cent by 2032 includes about 50 policies supporting everything from low-carbon power and energy savings to electric vehicles and keeping food waste out of landfill.
Big winners in the 164-page Clean Growth Strategy include offshore windfarm developers, which will be guaranteed a further £550m of subsidies. Experts believe that could more than double the UK’s existing offshore wind capacity.
Energy efficiency for businesses and householders is at the heart of the plan, which the government was required to publish under the Climate Change Act.
There is an aspiration that all houses will be brought up to the minimum of energy band C by 2035, but how that will be achieved is not spelled out. Existing schemes to improve insulation will be extended until 2028.
New nuclear power stations are encouraged, but they will only go ahead if developers can do so at competitive prices. Solar power was given tentative support while onshore windfarms won partial backing.
The Business Secretary, Greg Clark, compared the changes under way in energy today to the big
changes wrought by the UK’s first coal power station in 1882.
Launching the plan, he said: “This government has put clean growth at the heart of its industrial strategy to increase productivity, boost people’s earning power and ensure Britain continues to lead the world in efforts to tackle climate change.
Green campaigners, industry groups and businesses mostly welcomed the plan but said it needed more ambition and lacked detail in some areas.
Robert Gross, the director of the Centre for Energy Policy and Technology at Imperial College London, said the politics of the strategy were key, and showed the greener wings of the Tory party had won out.
He said: “In 2015 the government started hacking and slashing at all manner of green policies. This has stopped, and that’s very welcome.”
The plan is scant on any detail of how the UK will cut emissions from heating, talking instead of simply exploring the best options. Low-carbon alternatives to gas include electrification via heat pumps, or using greener gases such as hydrogen.
Many of the ideas in the strategy have already been announced, such as phasing out petrol and diesel cars by 2040 and £246m to develop batteries for cars and energy systems.
Despite the wide-ranging policies, the strategy concedes that the UK is still not on track to meet its legally binding carbon targets for the late 2020s and early 2030s. The government noted it had “flexibilities” on meeting the targets under the Climate Change Act but might not need to use them.
Source: The Guardian