The UK can profit from leading the world in the clean tech revolution, new analysis from the Carbon Trust reveals today, quantifying for the first time the economic benefits of investing in a range of clean technologies. By taking a bold new approach to commercialisation, the UK could generate up to £70 billion for the economy and almost 250,000 jobs in offshore wind and wave power alone. Offshore wind and wave can alone provide at least 15% of the total carbon savings required to meet our 2050 targets.
Launching the Carbon Trust’s ‘Clean Tech Revolution’ campaign, Chief Executive, Tom Delay, said a new strategy is required if Britain is to transform itself into a global hub of low carbon innovation. He called for Britain to make smart investments through greater technology prioritisation and to move away from technology neutrality. This new approach, outlined in a new report, means public support will be focused on emerging low carbon technologies and industries that will have the maximum impact on cutting carbon and generating UK economic benefit.
In the first of a series of economic reviews, the Carbon Trust demonstrates that by applying this new approach the UK could seize 45% of the global offshore wind market by 2020, delivering £65 billion of net economic value and some 220,000 total jobs by 2050. To do this we need a comprehensive package of technology focused support including investment of up to £600 million in R&D, removal of regulatory barriers and new incentive mechanisms to accelerate deployment of offshore wind power around our coasts. Two thirds of this economic value will come from the fast growing low carbon technology export market, which can be unlocked by ensuring that investment into the UK is made attractive.
Analysis also shows that, with 25% of the world’s wave technologies already being developed in the UK, Britain could be the ‘natural owner’ of the global wave power market, generating revenues worth £2 billion per year by 2050 and up to 16,000 direct jobs. To generate maximum economic benefit, the UK must focus on addressing funding gaps in the wave sector.
Tom Delay, Chief Executive of the Carbon Trust said:
“These technologies are not green ‘nice to haves’ but are critical to the economic recovery of the UK. To reap the significant rewards from their successful development we must prioritise and comprehensively back the technologies that offer the best chance of securing long term carbon savings, jobs and revenue for Britain. We have known for a while that the UK has an important role to play in the clean tech revolution. But, rather than following in the footsteps of others, this new analysis shows it is an economic no brainer to be leading from the front. The global race is clearly on and the clock is ticking."
Minister for Energy and Climate Change, David Kidney said:
"The Government aims to secure Britain's green future, and seize the economic benefits of the move to a low carbon economy. We are determined to position our country as a hub of the advanced green manufacturing revolution. The £405 million towards investment in low carbon industries secured in the recent budget is a strong signal of our intention to realise that vision. The commercialisation review is an important contribution from the Carbon Trust and I welcome their valuable insights.”
As part of the ‘Clean Tech Revolution’ campaign, the Carbon Trust will be launching 15 new R&D and technology acceleration projects in 2009, in addition to over 40 projects that are already in place.
The campaign is also being backed by leading innovators, businesses, investors, scientists and NGOs.
Professor John Beddington CMG FRS, Chief Scientific Adviser to HM Government and Head of the Government Office for Science, commented:
“The UK's greenhouse gas targets mean that by 2050 we must reduce our emissions to just one tenth of today's levels, per unit of output. This is a formidable challenge, requiring step changes in the rate at which we improve our energy efficiency and in low carbon innovation. The Carbon Trust's proposals recognise the need for us to be smarter in focusing our investments, including to help businesses seize the economic opportunities of the transition.”
John Sauven, Greenpeace Executive Director, said:
“Every country now needs a decarbonisation plan to help solve three of our greatest challenges – climate stability, energy security and economic prosperity. The UK has an enormous untapped supply of clean, green renewable energy and a world class engineering industry well placed to develop it. Our economy can also save billions in energy costs by investing in an unprecedented energy efficiency drive. We need nothing less than to make the UK a global leader of the green industrial revolution. The Carbon Trust is right to find the ways in which we can rapidly develop the low carbon technologies that could help solve the greatest challenges facing our planet.”
Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society, commented:
“The world’s economy is facing one of its biggest ever shifts as the necessity of tackling climate change and dwindling supplies of fossil fuels dictate a move to a low carbon economy. In the past we have let opportunities to capitalise on our scientific leadership slip through our fingers. The US and others are investing heavily in low carbon technologies; we must not fall behind and waste the scientific expertise that we have in the UK.”
Sir David King, Director, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, Oxford University:
“If the UK is really going to live up to its leadership position on climate change we now need to look to the future and focus on developing the technologies, markets and businesses that will deliver the greatest carbon and economic benefits. I welcome Carbon Trust’s campaign as it comes at a pivotal point in our history. We have a rare chance to rebuild our economy in a way that will reduce carbon emissions at the same time as being sustainable and prosperous. We must not pass up the opportunity.”
Dr Neil Bentley, CBI Director of Business Environment, said:
“This campaign brings a welcome focus on how we can maximise UK economic benefit from the low-carbon revolution. Government should work with industry to prioritise technology families with the greatest potential. Fully commercialised, low-carbon technologies need targeted research support, improvements to infrastructure and intelligent public procurement to help drive demand.”
Maria McCaffery, Chief Executive, BWEA commented:
"BWEA believe that this report is a benchmark step in terms of joined up thinking for RD & D in the UK "Clean Tech Revolution", something the offshore wind, wave and tidal industries have been pressing on for some time. Tailoring UK financial support to specific technology groups, by addressing their entire funding landscape, integrating innovation and business, will allow the UK to cement its position as global market leaders in the green technologies identified.”
“BWEA are confident that the offshore wind, wave and tidal industries will rank highly in the assessment procedure outlined in this report, as the UK will require rapid deployment of all three technologies if it is to meet its future renewable energy and carbon reduction targets. It is also fantastic how this report demonstrates that focused investment in these technologies now will secure long term economic benefits for the UK in the future."
Miles Templeman, Director General, Institute of Directors commented:
“It is business that will provide the long term solutions to climate change, and the rewards for British firms and for the British economy could be substantial. But it is for Government to provide a supportive framework, including the removal of regulatory and other hurdles. The Carbon Trust’s campaign on how to stimulate low carbon innovation in the UK is therefore both timely and important.”
Professor Jim Skea, Research Director, UK Energy Research Centre, commented:
“The UK has a unique, once in a generation, opportunity to lead the world in clean low-carbon innovation. But it will take vision and enterprise to make the most of that opportunity. The Carbon Trust’s new campaign is not only shining a light on the way ahead but promises concrete steps that will allow the UK to forge ahead with the development and deployment of new, world-leading technologies”
Dr David Clarke, CEO, Energy Technologies Institute commented:
“Accelerating the delivery of renewable and low carbon energy systems is critical to meeting the UK’s CO2 reduction targets. Working with the Carbon Trust and others, the ETI’s £1bn programme to demonstrate innovative engineering technologies and skills will support the delivery of these commercial systems. Together with the associated energy efficiency measures, this will help to create a stronger UK engineering and manufacturing base which can target the £70bn market opportunity identified by the Carbon Trust.”
David Bott, Director of Innovation Programmes at the Technology Strategy Board said:
“The Technology Strategy Board fully supports this initiative and will continue to work alongside the Carbon Trust and the ETI to help foster a UK business environment that enables companies to take full advantage of the opportunities that a low carbon economy will bring. The Technology Strategy Board is already supporting the area of energy generation and supply, making significant investment in the innovative programmes to develop carbon abatement technologies for this industry to help ensure the generation and supply of secure, clean and affordable energy. We are also working on energy efficient transport and housing to minimise the use of energy. Major market opportunities for businesses working in the energy sector are already opening up and the Technology Strategy Board will continue to support innovation in this area in order to help create wealth for the UK and meet the country's energy policy targets.”
Stephen Tetlow, CEO, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, commented:
“The UK has a once-in-a-generation opportunity here. We must not miss it. Just as we had for oil, we have leading natural resources in wind and wave energy. If we exploit these now, with a clear vision for the future, we can become the world leader in low carbon technology enterprise and the largest net exporter to Europe of renewable energy. We have the best engineers in the world to deliver the technology and turn the science into reality. But we urgently need a clear vision, and a committed, agile Government investment framework to create the financial conditions for the research base and the new national infrastructure we will need. That takes real leadership. The investment required is massive, but the rewards are even greater. I therefore fully support the Carbon Trust’s campaign. It is spot on. It’s urgent. I am pleased the Trust has taken the initiative. We can’t afford not to do it.”
Gaynor Hartnell, Director of Policy Renewable Energy Association, said:
“With our enviable marine resources and leading edge in technology, the UK is well-placed to lead the world in ocean renewable energy exploitation. If UK Plc is to capitalise on these rich assets, the Government needs to ensure that UK waters are the most attractive place for our companies to develop projects.”
Tim Smit, Chief Executive and co-founder of the Eden Project said:
“The Carbon Trust is committed to bringing the best minds to bear on the development and implementation of technologies that are not only good for the planet, but the UK as well. The challenge is stark adapt quickly and become an economic powerhouse and help save the planet or adapt slowly and become an economic backwater while others reap the benefits of a change we simply have to make.”