'Powering up Britain’ blueprint outlines national move to green energy security

The government today (March 30, 2023) launched Powering up Britain, a blueprint for the UK to develop its own sources of clean energy to boost energy independence and green industries.


Plans include a commitment to Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) and further developing offshore wind capability, investing in EV charging points, bringing down household energy bills, and reforming the planning process to enable the rollout of renewable energy projects.

In Powering up Britain, Grant Shapps, secretary of state for energy security and net zero, stated that a move towards homegrown sources of cleaner and more affordable energy will help reduce the country’s reliance on importing fossil fuels.

“We have seen over the past year what can happen when global energy supplies are disrupted, and a tyrant like Putin uses energy as a weapon,” he said in a statement. “Access to cheap, abundant and reliable energy provide the foundation stone of a thriving economy with our homes and businesses relying on it to deliver our future prosperity.”

Shapps continued: “Following our unprecedented cost of living support this winter, which continues, this plan now sets out how we fix this problem in the long term to deliver wholesale UK electricity prices that rank amongst the cheapest in Europe, as we export our green growth expertise to the world.”

Measures announced in Powering up Britain include:

  • A commitment to Carbon Capture Usage and Storage. The first projects will be announced to progress to the next stage of the negotiations to rollout the first Carbon Capture clusters in the UK’s industrial heartlands. The round for areas to apply for two additional future clusters has also been launched and there will be an opportunity for further projects to be added to the first two clusters. These announcements build on the £20bn CCUS funding
  • Kickstarting investment into the UK’s emerging floating offshore wind industry by launching the £160m fund to support port infrastructure projects.
  • Backing the first tranche of new green hydrogen production projects under the £240m Net Zero Hydrogen Fund as part of development of this new power source.
  • Opening the fifth round of the UK’s world-leading scheme to incentivise investment in renewable electricity, backed by a budget of £205m. Now being held annually, Contracts for Difference will build on the UK levy-funded support for renewable power since 2010 of around £80bn.
  • Announcing Great British Nuclear, led initially by Simon Bowen as interim chair and Gwen Parry-Jones OBE as interim CEO. GBN’s first job will be to launch a new competition to select the best Small Modular Reactor technologies for development by Autumn.
  • Reforming the planning process to enable the building of more energy infrastructure including solar power and offshore wind projects more quickly.
  • Cutting household bills by expanding government energy efficiency support to even more households. The Great British Insulation Scheme, a rebranded ECO+, will upgrade 300,000 of the country’s least energy efficient homes.
  • Investing over £380m into boosting EV charging points and infrastructure across the country.
  • Reducing reliance on fossil fuels to heat buildings. A new £30m Heat Pump Investment Accelerator is designed to leverage £270m private investment to boost manufacturing and supply of heat pumps in the UK. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme - a £5,000 grant to anyone buying a heat pump - will be extended to 2028.
  • Providing UK Export Finance with an extra £10bn capacity to boost exports.
  • Building a stable environment for businesses to invest and grow in the transition to electric vehicles and sustainable aviation fuel.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Prof Patrick Devine-Wright at Exeter University and Director of the ACCESS project said: “The 2022 IPCC report made clear the vital role that reducing energy demand has for climate change mitigation. The measures outlined appear heavily weighted towards supply side measures and large-scale infrastructure projects such as CCUS, hydrogen, nuclear and offshore wind. Investments in local energy initiatives, including energy efficiency and heat pumps are small by comparison.”

“The government granting licenses for new oil, gas and coal developments is not compensated by expanding renewables, nuclear and other low-carbon tech,” added Prof Kevin Anderson, Professor of Energy and Climate Change at the Tyndall Centre, Manchester University. “The science sees straight through the promises of snake-oil policy makers and will just continue to warm the climate until such time as we cease burning fossil fuels.”