All across the country green industrial facilities are planned that could turbocharge the recovery and help deliver net zero emissions
Environmentalism takes many forms. There is the traditional vision of conservation and restoration, of tree-planting and newts. But the need to decarbonise our economy has necessitated the development of a form of industrial environmentalism. After all, climate change is ultimately an engineering challenge. We are going to have to build stuff.
That is what makes a flurry of stories over the past 48 hours so exciting. Today, RenewableUK published a sweeping new report detailing how renewables - and in particular wind - are well placed to provide the backbone to the energy system over the next decade. That is, of course, what you would expect a renewable energy trade body to say, but what was particularly notable about the report was how it sketched out the way in which low cost clean power promises to be a foundational technology for a wider industrial revolution.
Green hydrogen, electric vehicles, smart grids, energy storage systems, green heating, and myriad other technologies all flow from the abundance of clean power generation that UK renewables now promise.
What does this mean at the practical level? Well, it means two UK companies actively exploring whether to build a battery giga-factory in the UK. It means fast advancing plans for a sustainable jet fuel plant in Lincolnshire. And it means similarly evolving plans for a CCUS and hydrogen hub on the Humber.
This is what the green industrial revolution looks like in the real world. Multi-million pound investments, thousands of good jobs spread right across the country, and the emergence of a 21st century industrial base.
The opportunity for an economy that was already in need of urgent renewal before coronavirus hit is blindingly obvious. If these factories of the future are not at the heart of the government's recovery package then we are in a world of trouble, not least because, as reports from Brussels confirmed, they are definitely going to be at the heart of our closest neighbours and nearest competitors' plans.
A version of this article originally appeared in the BusinessGreen Overnight Briefing email, which is available to all BusinessGreen subscribers.
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