Jump to content

Lab SP: "Factories of the Green Revolution"

Simon Bleyer

Recommended Posts

Speeches Delivered at an event hosted by Octopus Energy: “Factories of the Green Revolution”

Simon Bleyer:


“We are living in an unparalleled age of environmental change. The six hottest years on record have come in the last seven. Sea levels are rising, extreme weather events made more regular. In February last year, we saw the first mammal go extinct as a result of man made carbon emissions. There is no easy way to put it - we are hurtling towards an irrevocable reshaping of the order of the planet and life itself. Our species has taken mastery of the planet, I believe that we must now be the custodians of it too. We must accept the responsibilities of the world that we have shaped in our vision. It must be our duty to preserve this planet for those generations of children, animals and plants yet to come. It is essential that we halt global warming before we tip this planet into the extreme.

I am therefore proud and emboldened to be here speaking with you today, unveiling our plan to prevent the ecological crisis spiralling ever further. There is no room for dither or delay. The process must start now. We can and will make Britain Net-Zero by 2040.

The Net-Zero White Paper, which I launched earlier today in the House of Commons, sets out the technical details for how we can achieve this bold weaning off of fossil fuels. It lays out a multitude of vital policies; from the mass retrofitting of homes and businesses, to the improvement of efficiency methods in industry - it is the blueprint for a Net-Zero country, economy and world. My friend Dr Amanda Stockley will explain some of these such policies in greater detail shortly.

As with much radical policy - however vital it may be - the question that ultimately arises is one of finances and cost. It is usually the Chancellor that makes the financial commitments, and so I will leave the details for him to announce in due course, but I can declare that the Office for Budget Responsibility estimates that the proposed measures will cost as little as £10bn net a year. That is an extraordinarily low cost to not just protect the planet and our natural world, but to completely overhaul our economy into a world beater. Indeed, it is an unfathomably low cost to turn Britain into the battery that drives the global economy- and then in turn reap the significant rewards that will come with it.

That money will pave the way for Britain to lead in the new world economy and order that we envisage. Its effect will be felt in towns and cities across the UK, with the creation of 850,000 new, well paid, clean energy jobs as a result, and training and skills courses will be funded so as to allow fossil fuel workers to seamlessly transition into new posts. Wages too will rise across the board alongside this employment boom, and every year some 6,000 climate related deaths in this country will be avoided. British firms and start-ups will be backed, as we look to get a leading edge in the development of new green technologies. Planning regulation will be loosened to allow farmers and landowners to unleash their patch as profit making solar and wind farms. A Net-Zero Growth Fund will be created to provide investment in British businesses that focus on clean energy - delivering an environmental dividend to the whole nation. Encouragement will, it is worth noting, be given to rare-earth material recycling firms.

This last point is one of particular importance. Net-Zero isn’t just about building a better economy and planet, but also protecting us from threats abroad. We must confront the threat of the growing number of anti-democracies that threaten to derail the energy and rare-earth mineral supply chains. We cannot accept less than effective self sufficiency in the energy market. Too great is the stranglehold of democratically dubious OPEC+ members, and too heavily reliant are we on imports from our continental neighbours during the winter months. We shouldn’t be content with this status-quo - we should be doing what we can to flip the scale. Why is it, when half of Europe’s wind comes over Britain, we aren’t taking advantage of it to become net exporters of electricity? Why haven’t we made the most out of our significant offshore wind farm potential, in our ambition to become a key energy player? We should be reforming our place in global order to suit the needs of Britain today and tomorrow, not half a century ago. We must take our place at the forefront of this new era.

Indeed, this is the third industrial age - and it will be no less transformational than either the Industrial or Technological Revolutions that came before it. Imagine, if you will, what Britain can and will look like. Street lights in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, and beyond to the cities of the continent; lit by the striking match of clean British power. Bedrooms and hallways heated by boilers fueled with the white heat of hydrogen, delivered out of our great docklands of old. Our fields, our hills and our seas made the factories of the Green Revolution. Jobs created not on the floors of Satanic mills, but in the Eden of a green and pleasant land. The very air we breathe purified by an unwavering commitment to a new and better world. This, I swear to you, is the world that we will forge anew.

Thank you.

I am pleased to invite Dr Amanda Stockley, the Minister of State for Climate Change, to the stage.”


Dr Amanda Stockley:


“Thank you, Secretary of State. I am proud to stand here today, before the employees of a company that seeks to aid us in our net-zero strategy. I only recently became Minister of Climate Change, but I have been involved with net-zero for a long time. As a scientist, I work to understand the issues that involve our people and the world at large. And work towards finding solutions to stop dangers. The climate emergency is the largest problem of our generation: we need to stop global warming and biodiversity loss. I am glad that the government of the United Kingdom, along with its allies, is working towards implementing an ambitious program to stop climate change. As the Secretary said just now, we have a comprehensive white paper coming up to support these. I shall explain to you more closely our policies we wish to implement.

The largest part of our emissions come, understandably, from our energy use. That is why we are planning to decarbonize our homes, businesses, and vehicles. This is the first step into creating the net-zero future that we all want. This is done by two strategies: decarbonising heating, and decarbonising electricity. So what does that mean?

Our goal is clear: we want to have at least 50% of our heating created by renewable and low-carbon sources by 2040. How do we achieve that? The largest part of our current heating depends on both natural gas, and heating oil. We want to change that: we are investing 580 million pounds each year to convert heating pumps away from boilers and into air source, ground-source, and solar heat pumps. We are furthermore using district heating through waste heat, with an investment of 150 million pounds each year to install district heating grids. We also want to expand renewable and low-carbon heating production. New ground-source heating and solar-assisted heating plants in combination with district heating can decarbonize entire communities and at the same time ensure cheaper, more reliable, and more efficient sources of heating by removing our reliance on gas and oil producers. The same will be done by replacing gas-fed stoves by electric and induction cooking, furthermore improving home safety at the same time.

Our electricity goals are even more ambitions: we want at least 50% of our energy from wind power by 2030. We want to triple solar power generation by 2040. We support tidal power and hydro energy. We will also cooperate with electricity providers to provide for sustainable reinvestment, focused upon renewable sources. But our goals must be met by funding and policies that see them reached. Our onshore and offshore wind projects will continue. We plan to liberalise and support regulations around solar and wind generation, that make it easier and more attractive for producers to choose these renewable sources over fossil ones. Our costing of this shall come from sensible windfall taxation of profits on non-renewable resources, promoting the transition to renewable energy.

But apart from how we want to administrate and cost our goals, we must invest: 580 million pounds for on- and offshore wind projects will be allocated. With it, we will expedite and even expand upon currently pipelined projects, such as Hornsea Two, Sofia, and East Anglia Hub on the North Sea, as well as Erebus in the Celtic Sea. These offshore projects will be supported by onshore projects that utilise all parts of Britain, from the Highlands to Cornwall. Wind power shall be met by an equal investment in solar energy: 350 million pounds for further projects in solar farms such as Plas in Wrexham, Hulam and Hett Moor in County Durham, and Môn in Anglesey, the largest solar farm to date. We must not only invest in expediting existing projects: we must also create new projects that utilise wind and solar power. This is a responsibility of the government in cooperation with our energy providers.

Wind and solar are not the only renewable sources. The growth of tidal power, through the Swansea tidal lagoon, has the potential to become a reliable and large part of our energy supply. As an island, we have a unique opportunity to utilise our many tidal sources for use in our energy production. In combination with wind and solar power, it has the potential of phasing out our coal energy production wholly by 2030. That is why we are supporting the Swansea tidal lagoon by taking on the 1.3 billion pound funding for it in accordance with the Welsh government.

But renewable energy is of course not only the care of the government. While we can construct and connect large projects that provide energy and heating for communities and entire districts, we must also allow our households to provide the energy and heating they need by themselves. The government will continue our schemes to promote microgeneration in electricity and heating. In this way, households can maintain their own energy stability and decarbonize their houses.

The net-zero strategy, of course, does not work if we cannot provide the labour force required to implement our ambitions. That is why we must not only invest in our construction projects: we need to expand the education that is done on the transition jobs of the future. We are investing in the so-called Green Deal Skills Alliance: 45 million pounds extra by this year for research, recruitment, and marketing. At the same time, we invest in technology and science that is determined to move the transition forward. As we move away from our fossil fuels, we also need to enable retraining of employees in those labour forces so that they will maintain their job and contribute at the same time to the energy transition.

I would like to thank the Secretary of State for allowing me to speak, Octopus Energy for inviting me here to support their own renewable energy branch. Together with the people, the government and the energy providers can push forward with the energy transition that will meet our net-zero goals by 2040. So that we can protect future generations from climate change, revitalise our ecosystems, and make our economy truly sustainable.

Thank you.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Create New...