Chancellor unveils £900m boost for green economy

Jeremy Hunt included a number of measures in his Autumn Statement designed to support the burgeoning green economy.

The measures included help to speed up the electricity network and the launch of a Green Industries Growth Accelerator.

The Chancellor started by confirming a plan to reform the time it takes for clean energy businesses to access the electricity grid.

“These measures will cut grid access delays by 90 per cent and offer up to £10,000 off electricity bills over 10 years for those living closest to new transmission infrastructure,” he said.

Ged Barlow, chief executive at Net Zero North West, said: “We welcome the government’s plans to speed up grid connections.

“By prioritising this crucial aspect, more Net Zero projects can successfully move forward, paving the way for a sustainable future.

“Additionally, it is imperative that the government focuses its investment and attention on hydrogen production, CCS and wind farms, as these areas require accelerated plans to achieve our country’s Net Zero goals.

“The North West region stands as a UK and global leader in net zero innovation, offering valuable lessons for the rest of the country. With the potential to create 600k jobs and serve as a flagship for new skills and workforce development, the North West holds immense potential in driving the transition towards a greener economy.”

The government also committed £960m to the green accelerator scheme to support clean energy manufacturing.

The Green Industries Growth Accelerator investment will support the expansion of strong, home-grown, clean energy supply chains across the UK, including carbon capture, utilisation and storage, electricity networks, hydrogen, nuclear and offshore wind.

The aim is to make the most of growth opportunities through the transition to net zero.

Together with existing manufacturing support and plans for net zero transition, the package aims to help unlock private investment, provide certainty to investors, boost energy security, and protect and create jobs.

Jeremy Hunt, said: “Britain is now the eighth largest manufacturer in the world, recently overtaking France. To build on this success, we are targeting funding to support the sectors where the UK is or could be world-leading.

“Our £4.5 billion of funding will leverage many times that from the private sector, and in turn will grow our economy, creating more skilled, higher-paid jobs in new industries that will be built to last.”

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said: “The UK is a global hub for advanced manufacturing, with world-leading automotive, aerospace and maritime sectors. This package builds on recent investment wins, such as the £4bn gigafactory, and the £600m invested to build the next generation of electric Minis, and ensures that the government can continue to help create jobs, grow the economy, and secure the future of great British manufacturing.”

Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary Claire Coutinho said: “Today we are announcing nearly £1bn to back our green industries. While we’ve already attracted £20bn in low carbon investment since 2010, with another £100bn expected by 2030, this will unlock even more. We have long been energy pioneers in advanced manufacturing, and this will allow us to carry on that great British tradition.”

The UK’s first Battery Strategy is also expected to be published next week, which will outline the Government’s activity to achieve a globally competitive battery supply chain in the UK by 2030 that will support the transition to net zero.

The government plans to launch a Hydrogen industry taskforce, delivered in partnership with the Hydrogen Innovation Initiative and Innovate UK.

The scheme will support  ambitions to maximise investment opportunities for UK manufacturing of hydrogen propulsion systems.