The North East from Blyth to the Tees stands to gain perhaps thousands of new jobs in the green energy sector as a result of the UK Energy Security Strategy published by the government today.
The Strategy could see 95% of Great Britain’s electricity set to be low carbon by 2030, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
There is to be ambitious, quicker expansion of nuclear, wind, solar, hydrogen, oil and gas, including delivering the equivalent to one nuclear reactor a year instead of one a decade, according to the Strategy.
Over 40,000 more jobs in clean industries will be supported thanks to the measures, totalling 480,000 jobs by 2030, said BEIS.
The North East is particularly well placed to take advantage of opportunities in offshore wind and hydrogen as a result of previous developments in these sectors the at Blyth and on Tyneside, Teesside and elsewhere.
The Strategy includes a new ambition of up to 50GW of offshore wind energy by 2030 – more than enough to power every home in the UK – of which the government wants to see up to 5GW from floating offshore wind in deeper seas.
This will be underpinned by new planning reforms to cut the approval times for new offshore wind farms from four years to one year and an overall streamlining which will radically reduce the time it takes for new projects to reach construction stages while improving the environment.
The Strategy says: ‘We will be the Saudi Arabia of wind power, with the ambition that by 2030 over half our renewable generation capacity will be wind, with the added benefit of high skilled jobs abounding [on] these shores.’
The government expects offshore wind to grow to support around 90,000 jobs by 2030.
The government aims to double its target for low carbon hydrogen production capacity to 10GW by 2030, with at least half coming from green hydrogen and utilising excess offshore wind power to bring down costs. This will not only provide cleaner energy for vital British industries to move away from expensive fossil fuels, it says, but could also be used for cleaner power, transport and potentially heat.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: ‘We’re setting out bold plans to scale up and accelerate affordable, clean and secure energy made in Britain, for Britain – from new nuclear to offshore wind – in the decade ahead.
‘This will reduce our dependence on power sources exposed to volatile international prices we cannot control, so we can enjoy greater energy self-sufficiency with cheaper bills.’