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UK Government announces £167 million green technologies boost to ‘future proof’ polluting industries

David Duguid MP

Newly elected Tory MPS 2017
David Duguid MP Newly elected Tory MPS 2017

The UK Government has announced a £167 million funding boost for green technologies as part of plans to create 60,000 jobs across the country and “future-proof” Scotland’s polluting industries.

The multi-million pound investment, which will be awarded to innovators, businesses, academics and heavy industry, will accelerate the delivery of the critical technologies needed to meet the UK’s climate targets.

The £166.5 million package will develop technologies in carbon capture, greenhouse gas removal and hydrogen, while also helping find solutions to decarbonise the UK’s polluting sectors including manufacturing, steel, energy and waste.

Ministers hope the investment will “help put the UK at the forefront of the green technologies of the future” while supporting British industries to lowers costs, remain competitive and protect jobs as they improve their energy efficiency.

UK Government Scotland minister David Duguid pointed to the range of projects across Scotland that will benefit from the funding boost.

Scotland to benefit

He said: “This vital funding supports the UK Government’s ambitious climate commitments, giving industry leaders the finances to make changes for a sustainable future as the country strives to Build Back Greener.

“Institutions to benefit include Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh with £20 million to run a new virtual Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre.

“And more than £250,000 will fund a Direct Air Capture technology project led by Storegga, and also involving Pale Blue Dot Energy, Carbon Engineering and Petrofac Facilities Management, with support from the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh.

“By embracing measures such as these, as well as accelerating decarbonisation, scaling up the use of low-carbon hydrogen and embracing new carbon capture and greenhouse gas removal technologies, we will future-proof our industry while protecting and creating jobs.”

Boris Johnson.

The UK has signed up to climate targets including reaching net zero emissions by 2050 and reducing UK emissions by 78% by 2035, compared to 1990 levels.

We reported previously how leading experts in clean energy predict moves to build a greener economy, including Boris Johnson’s 10-point plan announced last year, could spark “a new industrial revolution” in Scotland.

Edinburgh University’s Stuart Haszeldine, the world’s first professor of carbon capture and storage, said he had never seen “such a flurry and concentration of activity across the whole sector of clean energies”.

But he warned the ultimate success of the campaign will rely heavily on the ability of ministers to convince businesses of a real sea change in the sector, and attract tens of billions of pounds in private investment.

Stuart Haszeldine.

The UK Government says the new funding announcement takes the UK closer to delivering on the prime minister’s commitment to remove 10 megatonnes of carbon dioxide, generate 5GW of hydrogen by 2030, and create 250,000 green jobs.

UK energy minister, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said: “We are determined to tackle climate change and make it win-win for both our planet and our economy.

“Today’s major cash boost – targeted at our most polluting industries – will encourage the rapid development of the technologies we need to reign in our emissions and transition to a green economy, one that reduces costs for business, boosts investment and create jobs.

“Just six months ago, the prime minister set out a clear 10-point plan for creating and supporting up to 250,000 British jobs as we level up and build back greener from the pandemic.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan

“Today we’re boosting our armoury for the fight against climate change and backing innovators and businesses to create green jobs right across the United Kingdom.”

The funding package announced on Monday includes:

  • £60 million to support the development of low carbon hydrogen in the UK and to identify and scale-up more efficient solutions for making clean hydrogen from water using electricity.
  • £37.5 million to fund the largest government programme of greenhouse gas removal methods, helping cement the UK’s status as a world-leader in this technology.
  • £20 million to support the development of the next generation Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) technologies so they can be deployed at scale by 2030.
  • £20 million to establish a new virtual Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre run by Heriot-Watt University that will accelerate the decarbonisation of key energy-intensive industries which currently make a significant contribution to UK emissions.
  • £16.5 million through the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund to develop new technologies and processes that help energy-intensive sectors cut their emissions, while reducing their energy bills.
  • £8 million for projects to develop innovations, such as repurposing textile waste, new clay production techniques for the ceramics industry and concrete manufacturing that support the rapid recovery and sustainability of UK industry.
  • £4.7 million will establish a new Transforming Foundation Industries Research and Innovation Hub.
  • £200,000 for Scotland’s Rural College, alongside partners University of Strathclyde, Agri-EPI Centre and No Pollution Industrial Systems Ltd, to reduce the environmental impact of beef production.

Some £86 million of the new funding package comes from the government’s £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, which provides funding for low-carbon technologies and systems, helping the UK end its contribution to climate change.

On Wednesday, the newly formed Net Zero Expert Group, chaired by business and energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, will meet for the first time.

It brings together an expert group to drive forward net zero targets, provide advice on tackling climate change and to help develop new polices to support the development of the government’s Net Zero Strategy – to be published ahead of the UN climate summit COP26 taking place in Glasgow this November.