The Prime Minister has pledged that offshore wind farms will generate enough electricity to power every home in the UK within the next decade.
Speaking at the Conservative party conference on Tuesday (6th October), Boris Johnson announced that the government will be putting forward £160 million to upgrade ports and factories for building turbines to help the country “build back greener”.
He claims this will ensure the UK can become “the world leader in clean wind energy”.
The commitments are the first stage of a 10-point plan for a “green industrial revolution”, with No 10 promising the rest of the details later this year to “accelerate our progress towards net zero emissions by 2050”.
How will the UK reach this milestone?
During the conference, Johnson said the government is set to raise offshore wind power capacity from 30 gigawatts to 40 gigawatts within the next decade.
The main way this will be implemented is through investing money into manufacturing throughout Teesside and Humber in northern England, as well as sites in Scotland and Wales.
Looking at the chart below, it’s easy to see that the UK is certainly heading towards a greener future:
However, the Prime Minister’s statement has already garnered some criticism. According to the Guardian, Boris’s bold new vision for offshore wind to power every home in the UK by 2030 would require almost £50 billion in investment – rather than the current £160 million pledge.
It would also need the equivalent of one turbine to be installed every weekday for the whole of the next decade.
What’s the impact?
We worked out that the current 27.8 million households in the UK are collectively emitting 475,380,000 tonnes of CO2 every year.
So, by running all of these homes on wind power, we’d be saving the equivalent of just over 2 million flights from London to Perth – or, in other words, the hard work of almost 10 million trees.
Not only will this plan prevent millions of tonnes of CO2 from being released, but it’ll also help the UK in its economic recovery from Covid-19. The plan aims to create 2,000 jobs in construction and support 60,000 more.
What this pledge doesn’t address, however, is the carbon emissions released by companies and state buildings.
In our analysis of how pollution fell during lockdown in the UK, we discovered that while domestic consumption increased – by as much as 30% at certain times of the day – overall, demand actually fell by 15%.
This fall was down to the UK’s business and industrial sectors using considerably less energy to power their offices and factories.
So, whilst Boris’s plan is certainly heading in the right direction, perhaps the government also needs to set some money aside to help businesses and factories run off renewable energy.