As per government insights, the UK has the potential to unlock £70bn every year by becoming a major exporter of clean electricity to mainland Europe. By increasing its clean electricity generation 50% above projected levels for 2050, the UK could transform into a clean energy superpower capable of exporting £17bn of green electricity annually to Europe.
Moreover, the ambition to generate more green electricity than required to meet the UK’s climate targets could result in the creation of an additional 279,000 British jobs. This would support a total of 654,000 jobs across the UK’s clean energy industries.
The analysis suggests that it is “plausible” for the UK to transition from a net energy importer to an exporter of green electricity by taking the lead in the global race towards achieving “net zero” emissions. By surpassing the “net zero” goal, the UK’s economy could attract trillions of pounds in global private investment, doubling the forecasted £35bn annual economic benefit on its current path.
However, the UK may miss this “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” unless government policymakers address the barriers hindering the country’s green energy ambitions. UK possesses robust competitive advantages in clean energy generation, making it well-positioned to surge in the race to achieve net zero. This achievement can deliver significant and sustained economic growth, increased productivity, and expanded exports.
Furthermore, it is expected that other advanced economies will embark on similar journeys as the UK. To solidify its leadership in tackling this challenge, the UK needs to make crucial public policy decisions supported by investment from private sector organizations. This will ensure that the UK seizes the necessary investment to capitalize on its strengths and becomes one of the world’s most attractive markets for companies addressing climate change.
The National Grid is currently struggling to cope with the growing number of new clean energy projects applying to connect to the grid. The volume has surged from 50 projects per year to 50 projects per month over the last decade, resulting in a 10 to 15-year wait for many projects to provide clean electricity to the UK energy system. The government should intervene to ensure that the UK has sufficient battery storage for renewable electricity and establish a market for green hydrogen production. Additionally, retrofitting the UK’s energy-inefficient housing and commercial buildings is necessary to improve energy efficiency.
The UK Business Council for Sustainable Development announced that they recognize the immense potential to generate large amounts of clean energy, transforming the UK from a net energy importer to a nation exporting substantial clean power worth £17bn annually to mainland Europe. They believe that this report provides an evidence base for the government to introduce new incentives, drive the transition, attract additional private sector investment, and position the UK as one of the world’s most investable markets for companies addressing the challenges posed by climate change.