As the COVID19 pandemic spreads across, it has caused a huge shock to the global economy. It has left many Western economies, including the UK, significantly weaker. In the UK, there are fears of job losses, bankruptcy, and more lockdowns. Besides that, there is an expected hike in income tax that will be announced soon, which will only make things worse for many UK homes.
A Rapid Comeback is needed
For the UK to recover there needs to be an avenue that can spur growth quickly. Such an avenue would have to create many jobs to replace lost one, develop skills and experience that will add value in the future, and be in line with general government policies. Besides that, it would also need to help reduce costs in some aspects of the economy.
One way to achieve all that is to implement favorable green energy policies. In the UK, achieving carbon neutrality is a national priority. A while back, the UK passed the Climate Change Act 2008. It proposes a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of up to 80% by 2050 based on a 1990 baseline. In 2019, the target was revised to 100%, which means the UK intends to be carbon neutral by 2050. Besides that, the UK accepted the findings of the IPCC October 2018 report which showed that the world had 12 years before irreversible damage was done.
Besides that, public awareness of climate change has been growing. It is considered one of the top three issues alongside social care and the NHS in the UK. The government’s decisions on climate change come from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). The CCC examines what makes up the UK’s carbon footprint and comes up with advice on the measures that need to be taken. Thus far, the CCC has shown that the government accounts for 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions.
Over a Million Jobs Could be created
A recent report by the Local Government Association showed that over 0.7 million jobs could be created by the UK’s renewable energy economy. By 2050, the green energy sector could create over 1.8 million new jobs. The LGA is calling on the UK government to work with councils to create COVID19 economic recovery options that include proposals for jobs guarantee programs. They argue that it could help to provide new opportunities even in the low-carbon industry.
In their plan, funding for skills and employment would be devolved to the councils. It would allow them to work with education and business providers to retrain young and older people so that they can benefit from new local opportunities.
As the nation moves to the net-zero, the report noted that the demand for green jobs, including solar installation jobs, would be on the rise. The rise in demand will help to counter job losses caused by COVID19, which are likely to rise when furlough ends in October.
The rise in demand from green jobs will be felt all across the UK and it will be an important part of the UK’s economic recovery.
According to the report, almost half of around 700,000 low carbon jobs by 2030 will be in clean energy generation and provision of low carbon heating to homes and businesses. The jobs will be in the solar installation sector, wind turbine manufacturing, and installation of heat pumps.
The report also shows that about 21 percent of all jobs by 2030 will be in the installation of energy-efficient products. These installations will include lighting, insulation, and energy control systems. A further 19 percent of all jobs will be in the low carbon services sector. These jobs will include IT, legal, and financial services as well as the production of alternative fuels such as hydrogen and bioenergy.
Around 14percent of jobs will be in the manufacture of low-emission vehicles and related infrastructure. Between 2030 and 2050, workers in the low-carbon sector could account for about 1.8 million jobs, according to the LGA report.
Impact on the UK Communities
The LGA report noted that COVID19 is likely to have an impact on UK communities for years to come. According to the report, centrally-based skills and employment support often failed to meet to respond to needs at the local level. However, local councils have the best chance of ensuring communities have the best chance of benefiting from the economic recovery.
Onshore Renewables Could Give UK Economy £29 Billion Boost
According to a recent report, easing barriers for onshore green energy projects could help to create 45,000 jobs while pumping over £29 billion into the UK economy in the next 15 years. Besides that, it could help save money on consumers’ energy bills. Thrive Renewables released the report. The investment firm manages around £93 million worth of renewable energy assets. Their claims are based on data released by the CCC. In the report, it is noted that the UK would need an additional 5.5G of onshore renewable energy capacity annually by 2035 to achieve its net-zero goals.
To achieve that, there would need to be a £4.7 billion annual investment. In total, this would lead to £66.5 billion in annual investment opportunities for the next 15 years. The result would be around £29 billion added to the UK economy and over 45,000 jobs created. Besides that, bill payers would save up to £1.5 billion by 2035.
The report is in line with others that show using renewable onshore power is cheaper and quicker than using nuclear power or gas-fired power. In the report, the emphasis is placed on giving onshore green energy projects, including solar projects, a new lease on life. To do this, they need to be upgraded with the latest and most efficient technologies. By doing so, it would make it cost-effective to achieve net-zero.
The Obvious Choice
Hat various studies and reports have shown is that renewables are the obvious choice for the UK economic recovery. The crisis gives the nations a rare opportunity to build back better and achieve their net-zero goals by 2050.
One positive aspect of using green energy to boost the UK economy is that most of the technology has already been invented. As a result, only a minimal investment and a few incentives are needed to spur on the solar energy sector and other green energy sectors. There is huge potential to be unlocked in the solar energy sector.
If properly harnessed, it could make the UK a global powerhouse in the renewable energy sector. For this to be achieved, various planning barriers in the clean energy sector need to be eliminated. One area that could be targeted is policy certainty when it came to price stability in Contracts for Difference auctions, cost structures, and network connection planning. The reason for this is that long-term investment decisions remain tough for developers.
There is a lot the UK is doing when it comes to solar power and there is a lot more that can be done. One area that the UK has succeeded in is promoting support for climate change. Based on the amount of support solar energy has in the UK, it could easily help to boost economic recovery, create jobs, and lead to the development of long term skills. The UK should not miss this amazing opportunity to come back from COVID19, as a better and greener economy will less reliance on carbon-intensive energy sources. Not only is it could for the economy, but it will also be great for the earth.
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