TBTech takes a look at reaching net zero through investing in clean technology
As the UK looks to reach its net zero goals by 2050, policymakers and business leaders face a clear opportunity to contribute to this ambition. Through clean technologies, companies can embrace the developments in clean technology that will both enable climate ambitions and support economic growth.
At the recent COP26, Prime Minister Boris Johnson launched an international plan to deliver affordable and clean technology everywhere by 2030. Johnson’s main aim is to make clean technologies the most affordable, accessible, and attractive choice for all globally in each of the most polluting sectors, particularly supporting the developing world to access the innovation and tools needed to transition to net zero.
Modeled on the UK’s landmark Net Zero Strategy, the Breakthrough Agenda will see countries and businesses work closely through a range of leading international initiatives to accelerate innovation and scale-up green industries. Delivering the first five breakthroughs could create 20 million new jobs globally and add over US$16trn across emerging and advanced economies.
Johnson said that “The Glasgow Breakthroughs will turbocharge this forward, so that by 2030, clean technologies can be enjoyed everywhere, not only reducing emissions but also creating more jobs and greater prosperity.”
There are many clean technologies that the government can invest in; here are some of the planned changes from the Heat and Buildings Strategy.
The ban of gas boilers
With 2030 only eight years away, the UK government must implement various plans to reach its goal. One of the actions included in its pursuit is to implement a gas boiler ban, starting as early as 2025. This ban is part of Johnson’s highly anticipated Heat and Buildings Strategy, which sets out how the government will tackle emissions from homes and businesses.
As part of the Heat and Buildings Strategy, Johnson brought out a ten-point plan to motivate people to replace their old gas boilers with low carbon heating systems. This announcement ties in with the government’s new Boiler Upgrade Scheme offering UK households up to £5,000 to help install low carbon heating technologies.
Currently, a very small percentage of homes within the UK are heated using low-carbon methods; this needs to change. Once the boiler ban has been implemented, a new generation of homes will run on low-carbon heat pumps and heat networks. The Committee on Climate Change estimated that the scheme will install 2.5 million heat pumps in new homes by 2030 to meet future carbon targets. With the gas shortages of 2021 and many energy companies going bust, installing low carbon heating systems could solve all your heating worries.
Jon Cullum, Director of Commercial Sales at Sustainable Technology and Solutions Centre joined us at our recent webinar, and shared valuable information on renewable technology. Cullum said that “there’s some fantastic solutions that are available now to adopt. Some of the solutions are easy to implement and there really are some fabulous technology companies based in the UK.”
Sustechs provide a full range of the latest Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP) solutions, which includes suppliers such as NIBE, Daikin and Mitsubishi. Already popular in the Nordics and operational in freezing conditions, air source heat pump technology is proven to work and provide you with a warm, comfortable home. With regular maintenance, air-source heat pumps can last 20 years or more – much longer than a standard boiler. Upgrading to a low-carbon heating system is now more affordable, allowing you to access the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments in advance to bring down the cost of installation.
Powering homes with renewable energy
As part of Johnson’s ten-point plan, the government plans to produce enough offshore wind to provide every home with electricity by 2030. The hydrogen industry will receive £500mn, with the aim of generating 5GW of low-carbon energy by 2030, along with 8,000 jobs. While this sounds like a great plan, currently, hydrogen production releases more carbon emissions than natural gas. It’s currently not low-carbon, and a lot of work will need to go into making it so, especially by 2023.
While the government and hydrogen industry work on creating a low-carbon option, they plan on building new nuclear plants that produce a cleaner form of energy, creating over 10,000 jobs in the process.
So, what are some of the options available to you and your business?
- Solar power: By generating your own clean electricity through solar panels you can power your whole home and business. While the most important benefit of using solar panels is becoming sustainable, but you can also decrease your reliance on the grid and even cut your electricity bills.
- Renewable electricity supply: One of the fastest and easiest ways to power your home and business sustainably is by choosing an energy supplier that is backed by renewable sources. Companies such as E.On provides its power to customers from 100% renewable sources such as wind, biomass and solar.
- Wind energy: Wind turbines are no longer limited to big open spaces. Smaller wind turbines can now be installed in homes and buildings by either a free-standing pole or installed directly onto a building or home. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that a 6kW pole-mounted turbine could save you around £250 a year on electricity bills as well as earn about £440 per year in SEG payments
Driving into the future
Another way that the UK plans on decreasing its carbon emissions is through the use of electric vehicles. The government has pledged around £2.3bn of investments to go into the electric vehicle industry while bringing in a new law change. As a result, from 2030, drivers will no longer be able to buy a new petrol or diesel car or van, while new high-quality hybrid car and van sales will be stopped in 2035.
Currently, there are not enough charging points around the country to power this, but the government plans to provide £1.3bn of government funding to build public and private charging points, adding to the 17,947 chargers that already help the UK’s 758,200 electric vehicles get around. One organization addressing this demand head-on is Connected Kerb, which has been deploying its EV charging point infrastructure across the country and disrupting the EV industry with its passive infrastructure. Connected Kerb also offers an infrastructure solution for businesses that strives to be cost-effective to install and built to last. This allows organizations access to long-term and cost-effective EV charging as they learn about users’ behavior and charging habits, and how to leverage smart technologies such as IoT sensors and 5G.
While many Britons cannot afford to drive electric vehicles, the government plans on providing another £582mn to fund grants for those buying zero or ultra-low emission vehicles. This will help by ensuring the initial cost is reduced, and another £500mn is to be spent by 2024 on improving and supplying electric vehicle batteries on a mass scale.
The UK is leading the way through their Net Zero Strategy by transforming these industries international while bringing down the costs of these clean technologies through billions of pounds of investments.
The ‘Clean Green Initiative’
As part of Johnson’s agenda at COP26, he launched the ‘Clean Green Initiative’ with a massive funding package of £3bn investment and guarantees. This package will help to support the rollout of sustainable infrastructure and revolutionary green technology in developing countries. Johnson said: ‘I want to see the UK’s Green Industrial Revolution go global. The pace of change on clean technology and infrastructure is incredible, but no country should be left behind in the race to save our planet.’
- What you need to know from Science and Innovation at COP26
- The COP26 clean vehicle pledge: Not a successful outcome for the UK
- Key takeaways from day 3 of COP26
- How is Technology Stopping Climate Change
Johnson went on to say that ‘the climate has often been a silent victim of economic growth and progress – but the opposite should now be true. Through the Clean Green Initiative, we can help to build back better and greener from the pandemic and put the world on the path to a more sustainable future’ By supporting developing countries, the UK looks to help the developing world reach their net-zero goals, which in turn will help the UK and it’s economy.