Thursday, 26 November 2020

The Green Industrial Revolution

Last week the Prime Minister announced the Government’s new 10-point agenda for a green industrial revolution, setting out an ambitious plan for clean energy, transport and nature using innovative technologies. The Coronavirus Pandemic has led us to appreciate the difference nature makes to our lives. Now more than ever, we are reminded of the importance of looking after our natural environment. The Government is committed to placing the environment at the heart of national recovery as we build back better and greener from the pandemic. 

The plan will bring new investment in hydrogen, nuclear and wind power helping transform the national grid, ending reliance on fossil fuels. By 2030, the government will quadruple the amount of offshore wind power we are producing, enough to power every home and supporting up to 60,000 jobs. Cornwall will be a beneficiary of this particular part of the new plan, with the Celtic Sea offering the required depths to build the offshore wind towers. In Hayle, the Wave Hub project has diversified in recent years utilising its existing infrastructure for the deployment of Floating Offshore Wind. Placing the turbines out at sea helps to reduce the disruption and enhance their efficiency.

In addition to wind power, the government will expand the use of other clean energy sources such as hydrogen and nuclear power. Working with industry, the government is aiming to generate 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030, creating the first town heated entirely by hydrogen by the end of the decade. Advancing nuclear power as a clean energy source, including the development of small and advanced reactors, will allow the UK to become less reliant on fossil fuels for our energy supply. Last week I met a group of entrepreneurs working on plans to build a new sustainable commercial laundry powered by Hydrogen as well as a research facility to develop this technology. 

The new renewable sources of electricity will allow us to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles and revolutionise our transport infrastructure. To achieve this, we will invest £1.3 billion to accelerate the rollout of charging points and nearly £500 million in development and mass-scale production of electric vehicle batteries. Cornwall is a natural source of lithium which is an important part of electric car battery production. Cornish Lithium is prospecting for lithium within the hot springs that naturally occur beneath the surface in and around Cornish granites, including in South Crofty. This creates an exciting opportunity for Cornwall to be at the forefront of this transport revolution.

Since being elected, I have prioritised economic regeneration and green recovery.  Cornwall leads the way in some of the green technologies of the future, bringing new jobs and investment to Cornwall.  The UK has made great progress in de-carbonising our electricity generation with carbon emissions falling by about 40% as the technology around offshore wind was perfected and we are now starting to see the same happen in other areas.  Camborne, Redruth and Hayle have always had a rich industrial heritage leading to some of the most important inventions and discoveries that this country has made. Hopefully, this will continue as we create a cleaner and more resilient society over the next decade.

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