Log in | Register

Johnson makes pledge on new green ‘ambitious targets’

Words: Laura Edgar
Offshore wind farm / Shutterstock_162395318

The prime minister has allocated £160 million to upgrade ports as he commits the government to increasing the UK’s offshore wind capacity to meet new green ‘ambitious targets’.

Johnson made the commitment in a speech at the Conservative Party Conference (6 October). He also outlined how the government plans to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and support 60,000 jobs.

As part of the plans, which also seek to “build back green” from the Covid-19 pandemic, the government will make £160 million available to upgrade ports and infrastructure across communities, such as those in Teesside and Humber in northern England, Scotland and Wales to increase offshore wind capacity, which currently meets 10 per cent of electricity demand.

The government says the investment will see the “rapid” creation of 2,000 construction jobs as well as enable the offshore wind sector to support up to 60,000 jobs directly and indirectly by 2030 in ports, factories and the supply chains, through the manufacture of  the “next-generation” of offshore wind turbines and delivering clean energy to the UK.

Other commitments outlined by Johnson include:

  • Offshore wind will produce more than enough electricity to power every home in the country by 2030, based on current electricity usage. This takes the government’s target from 30GW to 40GW.
  • Creating a new target for floating offshore wind to deliver 1GW of energy by 2030.
  • Setting a target to support up to double the capacity of renewable energy in the next Contracts for Difference auction, which will open in late 2021. This should provide enough clean, low-cost energy to power up to 10 million homes.

All of these commitments form part of the first stage of Johnson’s 10-point plan for a “green industrial revolution”. This, the government adds, will be set out in full later this year. 

Johnson said: “Our seas hold immense potential to power our homes and communities with low-cost green energy and we are already leading the way in harnessing its strengths.

“Now, as we build back better we must build back greener. So we are committing to new ambitious targets and investment into wind power to accelerate our progress towards net-zero emissions by 2050.

“This sets us on our path towards a green industrial revolution, which will provide tens of thousands of highly skilled jobs.

“Together with planned stringent requirements on supporting UK manufacturers in government-backed renewables projects, these measures will mean the industry can reach its target of 60 per cent of offshore wind farm content coming from the UK.”

Business and energy secretary Alok Sharma added: “The offshore wind sector is a major British success story, providing cheap, green electricity while supporting thousands of good-quality jobs.

“Powering every home in the country through offshore wind is hugely ambitious, but it’s exactly this kind of ambition which will mean we can build back greener and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.”

Industry chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) Benj Sykes said: “Offshore wind is on track to become the backbone of Britain’s electricity system, providing reliable, low-cost clean power to homes and businesses across the country. The industry is investing tens of billions of pounds in new offshore wind projects, supporting local economies and employment in communities across the UK. Our global leadership in offshore wind, coupled with new support for investment in ports, will help unlock the huge opportunity for the UK to build a world-leading, competitive supply chain.”

Image credit | Shutterstock