Powering Up Britain – UK Government sets out plans for achieving net zero commitments.

A discussion of key points provided in the UK Government’s “Powering Up Britain” Manifesto published on 30 March 2023.

6 April 2023

“Powering Up Britain”

With the publication of the “Powering Up Britain – Energy Security Plan” (“ESP”) on 30 March 2023, the UK Government has placed significant emphasis on the concept of “security” in relation to the UK’s energy infrastructure. Climate security, energy security, consumer security and economic security are key themes identified in the ESP and underpin the basis of the UK Government’s plan to achieve a “net zero economy” by 2050.

What has been proposed?

The ESP has set out a package of measures that the UK Government intend to deliver in order to fulfil its energy objectives, including:

  • the launch of Great British Nuclear and the Small Modular Reactor selection process; 
  • the development of UK supply chains, for example through the Floating Offshore Wind Investment Scheme, which will reportedly provide up to £160 million in funding towards port infrastructure projects;
  • a target for energy generated through solar-power systems of 70GW; 
  • the provision of £20 billion of investment funds for the early deployment of carbon capture, usage and storage systems (“CCUS”) (as announced in the Spring Budget 2023), expansion of the Track-1 capture projects and an announcement of the launch of Track-2 clusters, with Acorn CCS and Viking CCS being directly referred to as the leading contenders for these Track-2 systems;
  • a target of 10GW of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030, an announcement of the shortlist of projects for due diligence in the first electrolytic hydrogen allocation round (amounting to circa 250 MW) plus the further intention to launch a second electrolytic allocation this year which aims to support up to 750MW of capacity, thus providing circa 1GW by the end of 2025. In addition, the ESP announced two CCUS-enabled hydrogen projects, which could support up to 1GW of CCUS-enabled hydrogen. New legislative powers are also be brought forward to design new hydrogen transport business models by 2026, which aim to accelerate the UK hydrogen economy and support (potentially) 12,000 jobs by 2030;
  • an aim to produce a new grid actor and connection plan to accelerate deployment;
  • five new planning National Policy Statements for consultation including making offshore wind a critical national infrastructure;
  • the provision of £30 million through the Heat Pump Investment Accelerator and an extension of capital support for heat networks to 2028;
  • fuel price rebalancing; and
  • a range of measures aimed at helping the economy through the transition including an uplift of £185 million to the Industrial Energy Transition Fund.

The renewable energy industry in Scotland will be eager to see what changes, if any, arise from this manifesto and it remains clear that increased investment in this sector will be well received by both consumers and industry. For more information on the industry response to the ESP, please see the following:

  1. UK Government announced plans for “Powering up Britain”, Scottish Renewables.
  2. Statement from Martin McComack, Hydrogen and CCUS Director, Energy Transition Zone Ltd.

For more information on the implications of the ESP and how Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP can assist your business in this sector, please contact John Morrison or Cameron Kane.