The Government has made it clear that a key part of the pandemic recovery is building back cleaner and greener. The UK has set a world-leading target to tackle climate change, which is to achieve net zero by 2050. Put simply, this means that we remove the same amount of greenhouse gas from the atmosphere as we produce.
Growth in the amount of energy generated from offshore wind is a key part of achieving net zero and the Government’s Energy White Paper sets an ambitious target to deliver 40GW of offshore wind connected to the network by 2030 – enough to power every home in the UK. National Grid will play a vital role, ensuring that the high-voltage network can carry this cleaner, greener energy across the country to where it is needed.
Growth in offshore wind also offers significant opportunities for economic growth and job creation. There are up to 60,000 jobs expected to be created in the offshore wind sector alone in this decade, and up to 250,000 jobs by 2030 across the proposals in the Government's ‘Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution’. By 2050, our own analysis indicates that the energy sector needs to fill around 400,000 jobs to build the Net zero energy workforce.
The Climate Change Committee anticipate the demand for low-carbon electricity will at least double by 2050 from 2019 levels as we shift to clean energy to drive electric vehicles, heat our homes and power our industry. The Committee’s Sixth Carbon Budget published in December 2020 recommends deploying 40GW of offshore wind by 2030, rising to maybe as much as 140GW of offshore wind by 2050.
Our mission at National Grid is to support these aims. We believe by acting now, the UK can become the world’s first major clean economy, with net zero carbon emissions by 2050, creating growth and jobs for communities across Great Britain.
Whilst the biggest impact we can have is supporting the economy-wide clean energy transition, it is important that we also reduce emissions from our own operations. Our work involves building and maintaining the electricity transmission network. In our role as an infrastructure business, it is vital that we decarbonise our own network. We want to operate in an environmentally sustainable way because we know that it’s the right thing to do – for society, the environment and our business.
We will reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions in line with 1.5-degree science-based targets – 34% reduction by 2026, 50% reduction by 2030 from a 2018 baseline and we will be net zero by 2050. We will also deliver carbon neutral construction by 2026.