A £70bn Annual Windfall: Report Forecasts 'Superpower' Status for UK via Sustainable Development
A report has forecasted that the UK could tap into a £70 billion annual reward if it goes further than just 'net zero' and becomes a 'sustainability superpower'.
By ramping up its endeavours to surpass "net zero", the UK could reap yearly economic rewards of up to £70bn by the middle of the century and secure its place as a global head in swiftly rising clean tech markets.
Following a study conducted by the UK Business Council for Sustainable Development (UKBCSD), the UK has the potential to become a "sustainability superpower" and consequently create 279,000 jobs in clean energy industries, presenting a significant economic opportunity comparable to the discovery of North Sea oil and gas reserves.
The report further declares that Great Britain's capacity to produce an excess of renewable energy has the potential to alter it from a net importer to a nation with the capability to provide £17 billion worth of clean energy yearly to the continent of Europe.
The UKBCSD's Chair, Jason Longhurst, stated that over 90 per cent of the world's gross domestic product (GDP) is under some kind of net-zero target. They commissioned a report to gain knowledge on the potential benefits net zero could bring to Britain.
This paper provides the government with the evidence needed to create new incentives to enable a transition, get more private sector investment, and make the UK a desirable market for companies focused on addressing the climate change issue.
The study examined the economic consequences of two possible paths the UK could take; either enhancing its net zero goals or continuing to adhere to its inadequate decarbonization policies.
This article contends that the United Kingdom would be a front-runner in the shift to clean energy, bring in vast sums of private funds from across the world, and become a clean energy superpower if the 'beyond net zero' scenario were implemented.
The economic advantages of this approach could amount to around £70.3 billion each year by 2050, excluding the social value of lessened greenhouse gas emissions and preventing climate change, plus an additional £36.4 billion of Gross Valued Added (GVA) from clean energy production. On top of this, the report calculates that disposable incomes would benefit from a £14.7 billion increase by 2050 due to the decrease in energy prices.
This research proposed that the economic advantages of the situation would be more than twofold the number of benefits worth £35 billion that would be released by the contrasting 'close to zero' situation, in which the UK falls into "clean energy mediocrity and stumbles along" with decarbonization policies that are inadequate to reach the current environmental objectives.
The report recognizes the need for substantial investment towards creating a power grid suitable for the 'beyond net zero' scenario, a drastic rise in energy storage, the implementation of a national building retrofit plan, and prompt action to encourage the hydrogen market. Therefore, it reinforces the current demands for various fresh decarbonization plans, such as interest-free 'retrofit loans', five times more rooftop solar systems by 2035, and 'priority grid link auctions', among other strategies.
Business leaders have recently cautioned that if the UK does not make a concerted effort to increase investment in low-carbon infrastructure, it might forego its status as a top player in the worldwide clean energy conversion. This sentiment is reflected in the report.
According to the report, the UK has the upper hand in the competition for net zero due to its robust competitive advantages in clean energy generation, which can result in primary and extended economic growth, including higher productivity and higher exports.
At the same time as the UK embarks on its journey, other more developed countries will do the same. For the UK to stay ahead in tackling this issue, decisive public policy choices must be made, supported by spending from private sector companies to make sure the UK gets and benefits from the essential investment to take advantage of its strengths.
Paul Weston, regional head of Prologis UK, stressed the significance of this report in demonstrating the tremendous potential the UK has, yet warned that the period to act is limited. He added that the advantages of becoming a front-runner in clean energy reach far beyond economic growth and the potential of creating new jobs but also benefit society and the environment.
On the same day as the UKBCSD study was published, National Grid released a report that showed that a significant overhaul of the UK's electricity grid is needed if the country wishes to achieve a zero-carbon electricity system by 2035, as the government has desired.
A document titled: Delivering for 2035: Upgrading the grid for a secure, clean and affordable energy future notes that major changes are essential if the 2035 target is to be met. This includes the need for an overhaul of the planning system, a review of regulation and governing principles, facilitation of how clean energy projects integrate with the grid, a rapid increase in the supply chain and skills pipeline, as well as a push to involve the public and customers in the clean energy transition.
National Grid proposed that a huge investment would bring about considerable advantages, including increased security of energy supply and economic benefits worth approximately £18.4 billion annually between 2024 and 2035.
Barnaby Wharton, director of future electricity systems for RenewableUK, has responded to the National Grid's report, urging immediate action to link new renewable energy sources to the electricity network to have the UK's power system running on decarbonized electricity by 2035.
He asserted that the execution of these reforms would bring about inexpensive electricity for the British public and allow the UK to get the most out of the employment opportunities that can be generated in this rapidly changing sector.
Recent reports are reinforcing the warning that the government must take action to get rid of obstacles to clean energy and bolster investment in low-carbon infrastructure or face the prospect of green investment shifting to the US and EU, which have recently presented wide-reaching subsidy plans for clean tech.
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