Boris Johnson will use today’s Conservative Party Conference speech to pledge £160m for developing offshore wind power as the UK attempts to “build back greener” after the coronavirus crisis.
By 2030, the government is targeting developing enough wind power capacity to provide enough energy for the equivalent of every UK home.
It is now looking to develop 40 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by the end of the decade, ahead of the former 30 gigawatt commitment.
Under the plan, the money will go towards upgrading ports and factories for building new turbines, and will create 2,000 construction jobs.
Manufacturing sites on Teeside and the Humber, as well as in Wales and Scotland, will be the beneficiaries.
The announcement is the first step in a new 10-point plan for a “green industrial revolution”. The government says it will unveil the rest of the programme later this year.
The UK has one of the most ambitious sets of climate targets in the world, and is aiming to be net zero carbon by 2050.
The Prime Minister will repeat last week’s pledge to the United Nations to make the UK the “Saudi Arabia of wind power”.
In 10 years time, he will say, “offshore wind will be powering every home in the country”.
“Your kettle, your washing machine, your cooker, your heating, your plug-in electric vehicle – the whole lot of them will get their juice cleanly and without guilt from the breezes that blow around these islands.
“Far out in the deepest waters we will harvest the gusts, and by upgrading infrastructure in places like Teesside and Humber and Scotland and Wales, we will increase an offshore wind capacity that is already the biggest in the world.”
Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband hit out at the announcement on Twitter, saying:
“Nothing in the Prime Minister’s re-announcement today on wind energy targets will tackle the immediate jobs crisis our country faces. We need ambition on renewable energy, but Boris Johnson rarely delivers on his rhetoric.
“The funding announced today spread over ten years is a drop in the ocean, and pales in comparison to the investment by France and Germany in green jobs.
“The government must urgently bring forward a genuinely ambitious green recovery that will create jobs now on the scale needed to meet the challenge of the climate emergency and unemployment crisis.”
However, Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven welcomed the new commitment.
“The Prime Minister’s recognition that last year’s Tory manifesto commitment on offshore wind can generate jobs whilst cutting energy bills and carbon is a great light bulb moment.
“If carried through it would help cement the UK’s global leadership in this key technology. But delivering 40 GWs of power onto the grid by 2030 requires action in this parliament.
“We now need to see the Prime Minister’s newly-found enthusiasm is followed through by knocking down all the barriers that the offshore wind industry faces in delivering its ambition.”