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In the past month, we have seen some encouraging decarbonisation commitments from governments across the UK, from the Welsh Government’s new target to reach net zero by 2050 (which was previously thought to be impossible by experts) to the Scottish Government’s significant green recovery fund.
Here are all of the key changes you need to know about:
1. WALES LEGALLY COMMITS TO ACHIEVE NET ZERO BY 2050
Wales is now legally committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, although the Welsh government has expressed hopes that it will ‘get there sooner’. This new commitment follows a report from the Climate Change Committee (CCC), which outlined how full decarbonisation by 2050 was within reach for Wales.
However, achieving this target will require the Welsh government to put ambitious policies in place, and for communities and business to work together to implement societal and behavioural changes. The industrial sector will have a key role to play, as a large proportion of Welsh emissions come from a small number of large emitters, such as the Port Talbot steelworks. There will also need to be a ‘decisive shift’ away from fossil fuel extraction and a greater focus placed on cleaner energy.
To find out more about the new Welsh net zero target, click here.
2. SCOTTISH BUDGET ANNOUNCES £1.9BN OF INVESTMENT IN GREEN RECOVERY
Scotland has also committed to a greener future, with the Scottish Budget containing a host of new funding intended to accelerate Scotland’s journey to net zero by 2045.
The Government will invest a record £1.9 billion in tackling climate change and creating green jobs, and a further £1.6 billion to transform the heat and energy efficiency of buildings, a programme which is expected to support up to 5,000 jobs. Other key areas for funding include forestry, zero-emission buses, waste and recycling infrastructure improvements, and a peatland restoration programme. It is hoped that this funding will enable the country to build a ‘fairer, stronger and greener Scotland’ post-Covid-19.
To find out more about Scotland’s green recovery funding, click here.
3. BUSINESSES GRANTED £40M TO REDUCE THEIR EMISSIONS AND THEIR ENERGY BILLS
Carbon-intensive businesses can now access a new £40 million government fund that is designed to help them to cut their emissions and reduce their energy bills. This is the second competition window for the government’s Industrial Energy Transformation fund, which will provide businesses with £289 million in funding up until 2024.
The new funding is available to businesses in some of the most energy intensive industries, such as the steel, paper and pharmaceutical industries, to help them find innovative ways to decarbonise their organisations. The minimum grant threshold has been lowered to £100,000 to enable smaller businesses to also get involved in the scheme and receive funding. They can use their funding to invest in technologies such as heat pumps and electric motors to replace steam turbines and natural-gas boilers, or heat recovery technology to recycle waste heat and generate renewable electricity.
If you think your business could benefit from this funding, you can find out more about it here.
4. NATIONAL GRID ESO LOOKS TO FLEXIBILITY TO DEAL WITH LOW SUMMER DEMAND
National Grid ESO has confirmed that its Optional Downward Flexibility Management (ODFM) service will be reinstated this summer. They are currently consulting on how the service could be improved.
The scheme was successfully introduced in 2020, in response to the substantial drop in demand created by the Covid-19 pandemic. Small-scale renewable generators that secure agreements under the ODFM are paid to reduce their output whenever they are called upon by the Grid, in order to avoid supply significantly outstripping demand when demand is very low. Last year, generators were called upon five times under the ODFM. This year, the Grid believes that there may be no need for ODFM, but they will still be putting the service in place between 30th April 2021 and 31st October 2021 to cover any worst-case scenarios.
As we move towards a low carbon future, and become more reliant on renewable energy, it’s likely that flexibility will play an increasingly important role in our energy system. If you’d like to learn more about flexibility, our introductory blog could be a good place to start, and you can find out more information on the ODFM, here.
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