There have been seismic changes the world over in the last two years, largely ushered in by the Covid-19 pandemic. Some of them were inevitable anyway and were probably straining at the leash to be liberated.
The one that readily springs to mind is the sharper focus and attention on the climate emergency. What has also emerged from this is the understanding that the opportunities in the green/low carbon economy are huge and are likely to see big growth.
Early adopters can capture market share and develop know how and expertise to tap into massive global markets as well as future proofing themselves, rather than locking in high carbon emitting processes.
Without strong commitment by energy-intensive industries, it will be almost impossible to reach net zero targets in the near to medium future. The drive to net zero is also obviously occupying the Oil and Gas industry and that means the drive to a green energy transition.
At the same time, there are simply billions of pounds to be made from the right investments in renewable energy and green housing and good returns in solar and wind energy have already become commonplace in investment portfolios, helping to usher in further change.
Investing in Green Energy
In October last year, the UK National Infrastructure Bank (UKNIB), which was launched in June to accelerate investment into ambitious projects, cut emissions and level up every part of the UK, loaned £107m to transform part of the former Redcar Steelworks site along the River Tees. The plan is to create a 450-metre quay to service the offshore wind sector, providing opportunities for manufacturing, storage and mobilisation of wind technology.
It’s hoped that the project will significantly boost the UK’s capability in this sector, supporting the Government’s target to be a world leader for offshore wind by 2035 and the UK’s plan to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The deal will support around 800 high quality jobs directly, with the potential to unlock thousands of jobs in total across the site.
The bank, as a provider of long-term finance, is seen by many as key to driving the UK forward and building on the work of UKNIB’s predecessor, the Green Investment Bank, which was focused on offshore wind. It kick started an industry in which the UK is now a world leader and helping to drive the net zero power sector.
It’s put wind in the sales, so to speak. The drive to net zero is also obviously occupying the Oil and Gas industry and that means the drive to a green energy transition. Oil and Gas UK has recently changed its name to Offshore Energies UK, but this is not just a name change or a bit of ‘greenwashing’; it’s a change in focus and approach.
North Sea Transition Deal
In truth it’s been changing for a while. In March last year the UK Government and UK oil and gas industry agreed a deal to harness the sector’s 50 years of energy expertise. The ambition of the North Sea Transition Deal (NSTD) is to accelerate the green energy transition and create a new generation of exciting jobs in communities across the UK.
The NSTD covers five commitments, namely Carbon Capture and Storage, Hydrogen, Supply Decarbonisation, Supply Chain Transformation and People & Skills.
The deal will help support the creation of up to 40,000 new energy jobs; cut UK emissions by 60 million tonnes, with 15 million tonnes of reductions from industry production by 2030; boost the world-leading infrastructure – carbon capture – the Committee on Climate Change says is necessary to tackle climate change; kickstart hydrogen in the UK to build a platform providing an alternative for heating, heavy industry, and transport; ensure energy communities can successfully transition, retaining jobs and skills and creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce; and reduce reliance on imported oil and gas.
It’s bold, but necessary and in the next blog we will look at what some of those new jobs will look like – and the best paid.