Industrial Strategy goes live: what does it mean for the low carbon sector?
On Monday 23rd January, The Prime Minister launched her industrial strategy Green Paper for the UK. The Telegraph said the Paper is, ‘Pledging to develop new technologies across the country and make it easier for companies to do business in the UK.’
For the low carbon sector, the Industrial Strategy Green Paper could be huge news. A £4.7 billion fund to pay for research and development into smart energy technologies is said to be central to its aims.
There are also plans for a £556 million boost for the Northern Powerhouse. ‘The industrial strategy Green Paper, which will be subject to consultation before Ministers return with more specific proposals, also sets out ideas to bolster institutions in each part of the country to support that region’s specific strength,’ writes The Telegraph.
What might it all mean?
The Telegraph’s analysis says the Green Paper will set out ten strategic pillars to underpin a new government approach to industry, including “Investing in science, research and innovation”, “upgrading infrastructure” and “delivering affordable energy and clean growth”.
The BBC says Monday’s interventionist Strategy is designed to boost the post-Brexit UK economy. It aims to, ‘Set out ways the government can provide support to businesses by addressing regulatory barriers, agreeing trade deals and helping to establish institutions that encourage innovation and skills development.’
The Green Paper, available here, weighs in at a hefty 132 pages. Crucially for the low carbon lobby, it promises to coordinate changes to energy infrastructure triggered by new technologies (such as electric vehicles), and secure the economic benefits of the transition to a low-carbon and resource-efficient economy.
Energy storage, smart grids, demand response, all get a look in. The Government will also set out a long-term roadmap in 2017 to minimise business energy costs.
And, the review will cover how best to support greater energy efficiency; a new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will help the UK capitalise on its strengths in clean energy. Overall, the aim is securing the industrial opportunities of energy innovation.
Among several questions posed within the Green Paper is; ‘How can the Government support businesses in realising cost savings through greater resource and energy efficiency?’
The Prime Minister’s Government appears keen for responses, which will feed into the next iterations of the Strategy and, ultimately, to where taxpayers money goes.
You can have your say on the questions and potential solutions, and feed into the consultation here. Plainly, there is scope for the Strategy to do much good.
But, it must keep key business interests, not plaudits or rhetoric at its heart.
Authored by Giles Crosse – Content Coms’ very own sustainability guru and industry commentator.