Whilst many of the climate ambitions in the NIS are longer term goals, we should expect to see a year of action and innovation in 2021, with the Government hosting COP in November.
The Transport Decarbonisation Plan, described as “the biggest piece of work the government has ever done to tackle greenhouse gas emissions from transport”, committed to an accelerated rollout of electric vehicle (EV) charging points with £950m funds to futureproof grid capacity along key roads and motorways to enable the uptake of new EVs. With the plans to ban sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles in the next 10 years, the NIS will also support on-street charging across England.
The energy sector will be at the heart of attempts for green economic recovery from Covid-19 in 2021. The highlight of the NIS was perhaps the commitment to boost the deployment of hydrogen and carbon capture and storage solutions to help meet the net-zero goals. The Government has allocated £1bn to deliver four carbon capture and storage (CCS) clusters by 2030, with two planning to enter the construction phase in 2025.
In the renewables sector, the strategy outlined the expectation of c. 65% of electricity generated in the UK to come from renewable sources by 2030 and it will target to build 1GW of floating offshore renewables by that year. The Contracts for Difference (CfD) Round 4 scheme has finally opened up for new technologies such as floating offshore wind, solar and onshore wind. The Government is targeting 12GW of wind and solar energy in the Round 4 auction, which is more than double to the previous round and a step in the right direction to achieve the 1.5˚C. The strategy also commits £160m to upgrade ports and manufacturing facilities to support 60,000 direct and indirect jobs in the wind sector within the next 10 years.
The NIS document sets out a very tangible foundations for delivering a green economic recovery post COVID-19. It finally gives the long-awaited opportunity to build an infrastructure across the country that has fully embedded net-zero ethos across all decision-making points. We see it as an important step forward!