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Government announces 'Clean Growth Strategy', setting out benefits of decarbonisation

Fri 13 October 2017 | Back to news list

The UK Government has announced its long-awaited industrial strategy which sets out proposals for decarbonising all sectors of the UK economy through the 2020s to meet the 5th Carbon budget by 2032. It explains how the whole country can benefit from low carbon opportunities, while meeting national and international commitments to tackle climate change. The strategy places 'smart energy systems' and new technologies at its centre, highlighting specifically where £2.5 billion of investment will be made in low carbon innovation.

Announced by Business Secretary Greg Clark, the Government's Clean Growth Strategy defines 'clean growth' as "growing our national income while cutting greenhouse gas emissions".

The Government has given prominence to power and smart systems innovation in the 165-page CGS, but also highlights the importance of the transport sector (24% of total). The report signals that at least £70 million is expected to be invested over the next five years to support innovation in energy storage, demand side response (DSR) and other smart energy technologies

£20 million has been earmarked for vehicle-to-grid (V2G) which will be used to explore how the rapidly expanding fleet of electric vehicles could be used to provide network flexibility and system balancing; a role currently occupied by more traditional energy storage and DSR technologies.

This will help address the planned increase in EVs, which the Government is spending £1 billion in driving. However, the CGS states that if battery prices continue to fall “there will be less need for government subsidies for new vehicles in the future”.

The report says: “We will provide support for ULEVs to help the development of a mature and self-sufficient market.” 

The strategy has been broadly welcomed by environmental groups and other commentators. While there is strong support for it as a 'statement of intent', some observers have been critical about the lack of specifics and detail in the report.

Andy Eastlake, the LowCVP Managing Director said: "We are delighted that the Clean Growth Strategy shows that the Government now clearly sees that a clear low carbon policy focus can stimulate industry, rather than constrain it.

"The CGS echoes the findings of a LowCVP report, published in 2014; 'Investing in the Low Carbon Journey'.

"We look forward to more detailed transport-focused elements of the strategy which we expect to be published soon."

The Clean Growth Strategy report notes that the UK has been among the most successful countries in the developed world in growing its economy while reducing emissions. Since 1990, the UK has cut emissions by 42% while the economy has grown by two-thirds. The Government says that the UK has cut emissions faster than any other G7 nation, while leading the G7 group of countries in growth in national income over this period.

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