UK urged to create ‘net zero’ development bank

By on 10/07/2020
Royd Moor Wind Farm, South Yorkshire: UK100 proposes that the government pledge £5bn to local energy projects. (Photo by Charles Cook via flickr).

The UK government should create a ‘net zero’ development bank and pledge £5bn (US$6.3bn) to local energy projects, according to a new report backed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The report comes from UK100 – a network of more than 100 local government leaders – and is sponsored by BEIS and Siemens UK. It recommends that a development bank be created to bring together all government financing for ‘net zero’ projects and to “kickstart local energy schemes” that are at too early a stage to attract private finance. In June 2019, the UK passed a law requiring government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to ‘net zero’ by 2050 – meaning that any emissions are balanced by schemes to draw greenhouses gases from the atmosphere.

The report analyses the progress of five UK regions, which have a combined pipeline of 183 green energy projects valued at £850m (US$1bn). It finds that £5bn worth of development funding as part of a stimulus package could increase this pipeline by more than 100 projects, unlocking £100bn (US$126bn) in value.

“A stimulus package that focuses on local energy will help rescue the UK economy and deliver on the prime minister’s ambitions of levelling up all parts of the country, and meeting the net zero target,” Polly Billington, director of UK100, said.

Local energy projects include retrofitting homes, onshore solar and wind power, biomass, electric vehicle charging and smart grids, all of which are critical to meeting the UK’s net zero target by 2050, UK100 said.

The full report is expected to be released later this summer.

About Mia Hunt

Mia is a journalist and editor with a background in covering commercial property, having been market reports and supplements editor at trade title Property Week and deputy editor of Shopping Centre magazine, now known as Retail Destination. She has also undertaken freelance work for several publications including the preview magazine of international trade show, MAPIC, and TES Global (formerly the Times Educational Supplement) and has produced a white paper on energy efficiency in business for E.ON. Between 2014 and 2016, she was a member of the Revo Customer Experience Committee and an ACE Awards judge. Mia graduated from Kingston University with a first-class degree in journalism and was part of the team that produced The River newspaper, which won Publication of the Year at the Guardian Student Media Awards in 2010.

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