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UK’s Net-Zero Strategy Unveiled – What do FMs Need to Know?

UK’s Net-Zero Strategy Unveiled – What do FMs Need to Know?
19 October 2021 | Updated 20 October 2021
 

The UK’s path to net-zero has been published by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

The plans detail how the UK will secure 440,000 “well-paid jobs” and unlock” £90 billion in investment in 2030”.

Aiming to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, the 368-page strategy document includes details on transitioning to clean energy and green technology – including the recently announced £450 million 3-year Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

Let’s take a look at the key takeaways from the strategy report for the commercial property sector.

 

Electric Vehicle Infrastructure and “Range Anxiety”

 

The transition to electrical vehicles is central to decarbonising road transport. Indeed, it was recently proposed that every new non-residential building must have one electric vehicle charge point for one in five spaces. Existing non-residential buildings will be required to have at least one charge point for every 20 car parking spaces, applicable from 2025.

So-called “range anxiety” is addressed in the government’s strategy, as being a key barrier to wider EV adoption. Therefore, a wider availability of reliable charging infrastructure is planned.

Building on 2020’s Spending Review, an additional £620 million will be used to support the rollout of charging infrastructure, with a particular focus on local on-street residential charging, and targeted plug-in vehicle grants.

Later this year, the government will publish an EV infrastructure strategy, setting out their vision for infrastructure rollout, and roles for the public and private sectors in achieving it.

 

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Skillsets for the Future – 6.4 Million Jobs

 

Approximately 6.3 million jobs in the UK, about one in five, are likely to be affected by the transition to a green economy.

The strategy highlights the skills that will be necessary for meeting the demand for decarbonising technology, such as housing retrofitting, heat pump installation, electric vehicle manufacturing, EV charging installation and forestry.

Tens of thousands of engineers will be needed to build and maintain new offshore wind farms, to construct nuclear power stations, and to manufacture electric vehicles.

Skilled builders and tradespeople will be needed to retrofit homes and buildings across the country, as well as conservation and biodiversity professionals to deliver nature-based solutions to climate change.

 

A Demand for Smart Technologies

 

The report states that the deployment of smart technologies and flexibility will underpin the country’s “energy security” and the transition to net-zero.

Flexibility from technologies such as energy storage, smart and bidirectional charging of electric vehicles, flexible heating systems, and interconnection could save up to £10 billion per year by 2050 by reducing the amount of generation and network needed to decarbonise.

 

Heat and Buildings

 

Heating for homes and workspaces makes up almost a third of all UK carbon emissions, therefore the energy efficiency of housing and non-domestic properties across the UK is central to the government’s net-zero strategy.

There are approximately 1.7 million non-domestic (commercial, industrial and public) properties in England and Wales, and these buildings account for around a quarter of UK building emissions.

Commercial and industrial buildings over 1,000 m2 are responsible for over half of the energy used by commercial and industrial buildings (excluding process heat) but account for only 5 per cent of the stock. Public sector buildings account for about 9 per cent of building emissions.

The government want to ensure buildings require less energy to heat, making them cheaper to run and more comfortable to live and work in while reducing our dependence on imported energy.

By 2035, all new heating appliances installed in homes and workplaces will be low-carbon technologies, like electric heat pumps or hydrogen boilers.

In terms of hydrogen, the government is proceeding with some caution:

“We will take a decision in 2026 on the role of hydrogen heating. Crucially, this will be a gradual transition that works with the grain of consumer choice. But the costs of low carbon technology can fall quickly – working with industry, we expect a heat pump to be as cheap to buy and run as a gas boiler this decade.”

Picture: a photograph of the Earth

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 19 October 2021

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