Potentially the biggest news is the changes to the remit of the Bank of England, which reflects the importance of environmental sustainability and the shift to net zero emissions. What form this will eventually take is still not clear, but it looks like an opportunity for the future of green infrastructure.
The Bank of England news was accompanied by the setup of a national infrastructure bank with £12billion to finance a green industrial revolution. A further £15billion will help the Government raise funds to invest in renewable energy and green projects.
There are also plans to allow UK savers to invest in green National Savings and Investment products. The new bonds are expected to help finance projects to tackle climate change, fund infrastructure investment and create environmentally-friendly jobs across the country.
Green organisations insist that along with these changes, the Government must ensure that financing from the Bank prioritises energy efficiency and local production/generation investment. This will assist in the achievement of the rapid decarbonisation necessary to reach Net Zero.
For East Anglia, the freeport site in Felixstowe and Harwich was big news. In the words of the government, the UK will be ‘putting a big bet on hydrogen’. The Budget’s green light for the Freeport East Hydrogen Hub is seen as a major step towards delivering on these words.
The ‘Hub’ is intended to support the creation of thousands of green jobs and feature innovative uses of hydrogen for zero emissions buses, construction equipment, marine and agriculture. Suggestions that UK-made Net Zero technologies could be in use within 12 months, will aim to place East Anglia at the forefront of the global hydrogen economy.
Further to hydrogen investment, is the offer of £20million for a UK-wide competition to develop floating offshore wind demonstrators. A further £68million will be for researching long-duration energy storage technology. This should drive green investment across the UK in the run up to November’s COP26 conference.
£4million has been side-lined for a biomass feedstocks programme, to identify further ways to increase the production of green energy crops. Most of this is likely to take the form of improvements in process efficiency and forestry.
The details of many of these plans are due to be rolled out in June. When received, this will give us clear direction on investment for generation and efficiency.
In the meantime, should you wish to discuss integrating renewables into your home or business, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.