Energy bills: Government announces plans to make the UK a ‘world leader’ in green energy

Plus, a new study shows three-quarters of British homes are keen to go greener.

green energy
(Image credit: Getty)

Earlier this week the Prime Minister set out the Government’s new plans to ‘Build Back Greener’, announcing plans to make the UK a ‘world leader’ in clean energy. According to a press release from Number 10, up to £160 million will be available to improve the ports and infrastructure around the country to significantly boost the UK’s offshore wind capacity.

The plans come partly as a reaction to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic: it's an opportune time to reset and ramp up the UK’s green credentials. They're also intended to help the country reach net zero emissions by 2050. 

The Prime Minister set out three key commitments as part of the first stage of a 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution. These are:

  • Confirming offshore wind will produce more than enough electricity to power every home in the country by 2030, based on current electricity usage, boosting the government’s previous 30GW target to 40GW.
  • Creating a new target for floating offshore wind to deliver 1GW of energy by 2030, which is over 15 times the current volumes worldwide. Building on the strengths of the North Sea, this new technology allows wind farms to be built in deeper waters, boosting capacity even further where winds are strongest.
  • Setting a target to support up to double the capacity of renewable energy in the next Contracts for Difference auction, which will open in late 2021 - providing enough clean, low cost energy to power up to 10 million homes.

The rest of the plan will be outlined later this month, but it’s also expected that we'll see further investment in the green sector. 

Additional benefits

Alongside the potential to make the UK a powerhouse for offshore renewables, the plans could see a number of further benefits. The investment will allegedly see around 2,000 initial construction jobs created. Plus, a further 60,000 roles will be in the pipeline, both directly and indirectly linked to the operation of the ports, the manufacturing of turbines and the harnessing of wind energy.

From the increased creation of these renewables, the wholesale costs of green energy could also drop, leading to cheaper energy bills for UK households. The Prime Minister alluded to this in a statement about the scheme: “Our seas hold immense potential to power our homes and communities with low-cost green energy and we are already leading the way in harnessing its strengths.”

Homeowners want to go greener

This will come as welcome news for many homeowners. A new study from Smart Energy GB has shown that three quarters (74%) of Brits are keen to make their homes greener. 

The energy company’s findings also showed that people are equally incentivised by helping the environment and saving money. It claims that up to £581 could be saved annually by implementing a range of efficiency measures. 

The recommended measures included replacing older appliances, adding smart home tech, getting a smart meter and looking to extra support from schemes like the Green Homes Grant

Smart Energy GB has also partnered with Homebase in creating new ‘green aisles’ in its stores. These will be dedicated spaces for showcasing - and making it easier for consumers to find - energy efficient and eco-friendly home improvement products that "will help make [their] homes greener". 

Switch to a green energy supplier

Another way to be more environmentally friendly and save on your bills is to switch to a green energy supplier. Many of the best energy suppliers offer 100% renewable tariffs that can often be cheaper than most Big Six providers. 

Just a few examples include Bulb Energy, Pure Planet and Octopus. The latter is a company that the Prime Minster has previously championed as a "world leader in future tech growth" and a key part of the "global green revolution". 

If you are looking to switch, a quick way is to use an energy comparison service to find the best energy deals near you - you can filter the results to just show green tariffs. 

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