The UK government’s long-anticipated strategy for reaching net zero emissions was published on Tuesday 19 October, just days prior to the country hosting the next global climate conference (COP26) in Glasgow.
Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener builds off the Ten Point Plan published last year that kick started the green industrialisation. The Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary for Business, Energy & Industrial Energy, says that:
“This Strategy sets out the next steps we will take to cut our emissions, seize green economic opportunities, and leverage further private investment into net zero. The policies and spending brought forward in the Net Zero Strategy mean that since the Ten Point Plan we have mobilised over £26 billion of government capital investment for the green industrial revolution.”
Key points from the plan
The UK’s net zero strategy is said to create up to 440,000 jobs and “unlock” £90 billion in investment in the next decade, mostly from private sector companies. The plan involves an expansion of electric vehicles, increasing the network of charging points, and further growth of offshore wind.
Much of the strategy elaborated in the nearly 400-page document relies on public investment into several key sectors across the UK. A few of the key investment announcements from the strategy include:
- An additional £350 million towards the electrification of vehicles,
- Another £620 million for targeted electric vehicle grants,
- A £140 million to accelerate industrial carbon capture and hydrogen projects,
- New funding to the tune of £3.9 billion for decarbonising heating and buildings.
Including other investments from the strategy and those initiated by the Ten Point Plan, the UK will be mobilising £26 billion of government capital towards the green industrial revolution.
Businesses must play a significant role to help the UK achieve its net zero strategy. To this end, the government promises in the published strategy to support individuals and businesses “to make green choices” by encouraging them to choose more sustainable options from a range of possibilities.
Below we want to highlight four things we found in Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener that suggest how the UK government will assist businesses move to a cleaner future.
Setting strong regulatory signals
The UK government wants to “make green choices affordable and easy by working with businesses and industry to set strong regulatory signals and collaborating to reduce costs and provide better quality, longer lasting and lower environmental impact products, and services.” To do this, the UK government will target measures at an industry level rather than at individuals.
Industries will receive clear, early signals to deliver low-carbon goods and grow the market sustainably. An example of this is the planned 2030 phase out of petrol and diesel cars and vans in the British automotive market. In this example, the automobile industry received a clear signal to produce low- to no-carbon vehicles in less than a decade.
Another clear signal was sent out through the Heat and Buildings Strategy with the aim of encouraging the rapid development of the low-carbon heating market. In both of these examples, the UK wants to foster greener choices for consumers and create new opportunities for businesses.
“Going with the grain” of current behaviours and trends
While the government is pushing for a quick and thorough transition to a green economy, they recognise that rushing everyone towards a decarbonised future will disengage consumers and disrupt businesses.
“The scale of this challenge is significant,” the government says in the net zero strategy, “but we will take an approach that goes with the grain of consumer behaviour and maximises consumer choice, to ensure a smooth and gradual transition for households and businesses.”
Electric vehicles (EVs) are a good example of the industry going with the grain of consumer behaviours and trends. A decade ago, EVs were a niche product – it was rare to see them on roads. Fast forward to today, one in ten new vehicle registrations in the UK were battery powered (or hybrid) cars. People today are very receptive to the idea of an electrified fleet, thus aiding a smooth, gradual transition away from fossil fuel-burning vehicles to EVs.
The government hopes a similar transition will happen with heating. The move to low-carbon heating options such as electric heat pumps is expected to be a gradual transition from niche product to a mainstream consumer option. This can only happen if businesses see the benefits of having a clean and efficient way to heat their premises. Technologies like ClearVUE. PRO and ClearVUE. Lite reveal live and historical energy usage data to businesses, enabling them to make immediate and impactful decisions that effectuate real energy-saving results.
Make the green choice easier
Through Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener, the UK government is encouraging businesses and individuals alike to pursue actions that contribute to the nation’s pathway to net zero. One of these actions is to use technology and services more efficiently. The strategy names “time of use” tariffs – one where consumers are rewarded financially for using energy at off-peak times or have excess clean energy available – as an example.
The Small Business Energy Efficiency Scheme (SBEES) is the UK government’s plan to remove barriers for SMEs in accessing energy efficiency measures, attaining better building performance, and meeting regulatory requirements. This will be critical for businesses as they will also be required, by 2030, to have a minimum energy efficiency standard of EPC Band B.
Choosing when to draw power from the network influences how a business will meet the new requirements supported by the net zero strategy. Businesses are increasingly expected to operate in an efficient manner in order to cut carbon.
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ClearVUE. PRO enables you to easily analyse your energy trends throughout their entire day’s consumption, including peak and off-peak periods. The red-amber-green (RAG) toggle in the Electricity Analysis page overlays your data graph with the zones that represent your meter’s actual peak and non-peak periods of the grid. Having a visualisation of your energy patterns facilitates adjustments to your operations so you can target energy consumption during off-peak periods.
Climate risks must be disclosed
The UK is “driving more disclosure and transparency in the markets on climate risks and opportunities” through different reporting schemes.
Most recently, the government unveiled new sustainability disclosure regulations (SDR) in an effort to combat greenwashing, or unsubstantiated or misleading claims that a business is environmentally friendly. SDR is designed also to make it easier for investors and consumers to understand how a firm is impacting the environment.
While the specifics for SDR have yet to be laid out (as of writing), it is said that SDR will bring together and streamline existing climate reporting requirements, including the government’s previous pledge to implement mandatory reporting aligned with the Task Force for Climate Related Financial Disclosures (TCFDs).
Effective 1 October 2021, the UK government updated the rules for how businesses can bid for government contracts worth more than £5 million a year. Businesses must disclose their commitments to net zero if they want to bid for such contracts. One way to achieve this is to adhere to the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) scheme, established in 2019.
Companies who use an energy management solution like ClearVUE.PRO get access to in-depth and easy-to-use reports on their direct carbon emissions across all their sites and down to individual meters or circuits.
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Develop your own net zero strategy with ClearVUE. PRO
Small and large businesses can create and act on their own net zero strategy through smart energy procurement and following an energy management plan to cut costs, consumption, and carbon. The data and hardware technology of ClearVUE. PRO unlocks new opportunities for businesses to reach optimal energy performance and lower their carbon footprint – letting everyone achieve their own net zero goals and those penned in the UK’s net zero strategy.
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