Green stimulus: the industry responds – ‘ambition severely lacking’

Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, chief executive, REA:

“Today’s announcement confirmed a lot of what we already knew, £3 billion funding for energy efficiency improvements and a drive on green job creation. Although we support the sentiment and maintain that this is a good first step, in reality, these funds are a mere drop in the ocean of what is needed to truly stimulate the economy and set the government on track for Net Zero by 2050.

“The foundations for a successful Green Recovery are there; recognition of the need to upskill and train a new generation of green employees, an area we have often advocated for, and an understanding that energy efficiency and homes need to be prioritised on the road to Net Zero. However, the ambition in terms of funding is severely lacking and in some areas clarity over the details, such as whether the Green Homes Grant includes domestic installation of solar, energy storage and biomass boilers as well as insulation.

“In light of this, we urge the Chancellor to use the time between now and the Autumn Budget as an opportunity to work with the industry to create a comprehensive and far reaching plan that will ensure a successful and inclusive Green Recovery.”

 

Wayne Mitchell, nirector of npower Business Solutions:

“The focus by the chancellor on improving energy efficiency in homes and public buildings and injecting money into green job creation is a promising start, but – at the moment at least – lacks any major net zero stimulus for businesses.  We recently consulted with 60 businesses in terms of what they wanted to see from the economic recovery, and they overwhelmingly believe that organisations with a strong commitment to sustainability should receive the most post-COVID government support, and that this should be directed to energy intensive sectors such as manufacturing, transport and construction.

“A green recovery is not only desirable, it is necessary to secure a robust economic and sustainable future.  Whether the Chancellor’s initial announcement goes far enough, remains to be seen.  Major strategic decisions will need to be taken now and over the next five years on the infrastructure and technologies needed if we stand any chance of hitting the net zero by 2050 target.  So, we will wait to see what further announcements are made during the main Budget this Autumn, as well as the long-awaited Energy White Paper.”

 

Michelle T Davies, International Head of Clean Energy and Sustainability, Eversheds Sutherland:

“It is great to see that the government is focusing on energy efficiency, especially those for whom energy bills have a big impact on disposable income. It is also important to see the government utilising its own asset base to decarbonise and create green growth opportunities. There is of course a much wider energy transition which needs to take place, and the message from the finance and funding community is that the deployment of significant capital to address decarbonisation across the UK will not happen at the pace needed without something changing and additional government support.”

 

 

Pradyumna Pandit, MD of sustainability and energy services, Mitie: 

“We’re pleased to see government leading by example with the announcement of a £1 billion fund to. Make public sector buildings more energy efficient . However, with around 65% of the commercial building stock that will be used in 2060 already built, if the UK is going to meet its net zero emissions targets the government needs to encourage the private sector to make green investments too.

“As companies begin to ensure that  green thinking is leading the UK’s economic recovery.”

 

Rachel Nutt, head of renewable & sustainable energy, MHA MacIntyre Hudson:

“The chancellor’s plans to subsidise eco-friendly home improvements will benefit a wide range of tradespeople including builders, plumbers and glaziers. Timing of payments is however critical to the success of the plans. The understanding is that government intends to issue vouchers to homeowners once an accredited supplier has had the work approved. Suppliers could face real cash flow problems if the government doesn’t reimburse the vouchers in a timely manner.”

 

Adam Eskdale digital economy team, Ashurst:

“Creating green jobs, and investing in energy efficiency, indicates that the government is increasingly coming round to the widely held view that economic growth and going green are no longer mutually exclusive options to choose between. ..

“However it will be interesting to see how the government intends to get behind the other key elements of the green recovery beyond simply ensuring efficiency savings. This includes embracing wider digitalisation of the end to end energy system and incentivising consumer uptake of renewable energy services.”

 

Signe Norberg, public affairs manager, Aldersgate Group:

“Building on today’s positive first steps, long-term policy commitments now need to be made by the time of the Spending Review and the Autumn Budget in order to genuinely deliver long-term and transformative change. This needs to include fiscal incentives, clear regulatory standards to mandate high levels of energy efficiency performance in buildings, a phase out of petrol and diesel vehicle sales around 2030, a UK Emissions Trading Scheme with a carbon price in line with the UK’s net zero target and product standards to drive down the embedded carbon in industrial goods.”

 

Amy Adams, VP of fuel cell & hydrogen technologies, Cummins:

“The Treasury’s £3 billion package of green investment is a positive step in the momentum behind green stimulus initiatives and brings the UK in line with other markets like Germany and France. However, more can still be done to align the UK’s recovery from Covid-19 with progress on sustainability….

“As this much-needed investment into efficient buildings generates activity in the construction and maintenance sectors, there is an opportunity to re-examine the whole value chain around construction. Decarbonising road transport, construction machinery, and off-highway vehicles as we rebuild will lead to long-term benefits.

“In order to translate the recent success of zero-emissions passenger cars across the economy to the commercial vehicle sector, we must not revert to implementing energy and transport policy in silos.”

 

 

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