BEIS seeks input: Alok Sharma MP calls for ‘ideas and insights’ on green recovery

How can the UK capture economic growth opportunities from the shift to net zero? Alok Sharma, secretary of state at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy addressed that question at a round table last week and has invited other organisations to provide written comment.

The secretary of state called for input in a speech delivered at a London Stock Exchange webinar, in which he cited former Bank of England governor Mark Carney’s warning that “If some companies fail to adjust to a net zero world, they will fail to exist”.

Sharma said, “The risks are clear, but actually the opportunities are clearer yet”. Listing industries such as offshore wind, CCS and the green supply chain, he said that “recovering from this pandemic makes these projects more necessary and more important than ever.”  He called on the private finance sector to respond, saying that it was the most important of five key areas needing ‘particular attention – which also included clean energy and transport, nature based solutions and adaptation and resilience – because it made the others possible.

Sharma added that the UK’s aim “is to ramp up ambition towards a climate-resilient, zero-carbon economy” in moving towards COP26 in November 2021.

The questions addressed at the ‘net zero’ round table included:

  • which areas of infrastructure investment should we prioritise for early action to drive economic recovery and support delivery of net zero and our broader environmental objectives?
  • what action should we take to align investment in the UK and globally with net zero and to protect natural capital?
  • what are the key regulatory barriers weakening incentives to invest in net zero, and how do we address them?
  • how can we more effectively support businesses across the economy in acting to access growing low carbon markets and support delivery of net zero? (e.g. innovation support, advice, regulatory barriers)
  • how can we help the UK’s carbon intensive sectors to transition to low/zero emissions while maintaining competitiveness?
  • what actions should we take to ensure local and regional economies can effectively contribute to the net zero target?

The ‘net zero’ round table was one of five chaired by the secretary of state. The others considered

  • How to accelerate business innovation and leverage private sector investment in research and development.
  • How to win and retain more high value investment for the UK
  • How to level up economic performance across the UK, including through skills and apprenticeships
  • How to make the UK the best place in the world to start and scale a business.

Ideas and insights should be emailed to [email protected].

3 comments for “BEIS seeks input: Alok Sharma MP calls for ‘ideas and insights’ on green recovery

  1. David Dundas
    June 19, 2020 at 3:55 PM

    By 2050 the UK’s energy must be supplied by green electricity. In 2018 according to the latest BEIS data, total energy demand was 2,226 TWh and rising, while renewables were only 84.6 TWh and nuclear 76.6 TWh. It may be possible to increase our renewables by say 5 times to 500 TWh but space on land and sea will be a limiting factor; that leaves a huge deficit of 1,726 TWh that can only be bridged by nuclear as it is the only other source of zero carbon energy. Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C will each produce 16.8 TWh at 60% load capacity, so you would need more than 100 of them up and running by 2050 which is very unlikely to happen. The best way to deliver much more affordable nuclear power is to give a massive support to the roll-out of small modular reactors (SMRs) that can be mass produced and delivered by heavy road transport and used to retrofit gas powered power stations, which saves the cost of the steam and electricity generation and distribution equipment already installed. We have less than 30 years to do it.

    • New Power
      June 26, 2020 at 2:15 PM

      What’s the reasoning for the 60% load factor for the EPRs?

    • Royston Black
      June 29, 2020 at 2:28 PM

      I think you are quoting gross energy demand which includes fuel and gas when you should be quoting electricity demand which is only around 390TWh this should be achievable through renewables and nuclear even with significant demand changes through electrification of heat and transport.

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