Households to benefit from up to £1,400 energy bill “clean energy dividend” under Britain Remade plan to speed up clean energy projects
Households across the country would benefit from a clean energy dividend on their energy bills, saving up to £1,400 a year, if measures designed to speed up the delivery of clean energy projects outlined in a new report were adopted in full.
The Powerbook report, launched at the Octopus Energy headquarters alongside Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change and Net Zero, Ed Miliband, provides a blueprint for how Britain can be energy secure by 2030. This would be done by getting more wind, solar and nuclear online in order to reduce the country’s dependency on expensive foreign gas.
With the vast majority of Britain’s renewable energy infrastructure being built outside the South East, speeding up these major projects will also unlock billions in investment and create tens of thousands of jobs in Britain’s former industrial heartlands in the north and the Midlands.
To be energy secure by 2030 Britain will need to unlock an additional 70GW of renewable power in less than seven years, on top of the 40GW already available. Grid buildout will also need to be sped up by at least three years, and two Small Modular Reactors will have to be built and generating clean power by the end of the decade.
At the heart of the report, prepared by pro-growth campaign group Britain Remade, is a major update to the planning system to reduce the amount of unnecessary paperwork and red tape which is holding back more sources of renewable energy being built.
The proposed changes would see the time it takes to get new renewables online tumble and the delivery of clean energy infrastructure projects turbocharged.
Currently it can take up to 13 years to build a new offshore wind farm, despite construction only taking two to three years. Just last month the government announced a five-month delay to the Hornsea Four offshore wind farm. In development since 2018 the project has the potential to power two million homes with clean energy.
To unlock the additional energy required the time it takes to build a new offshore wind farm will need to be slashed to just five and a half years, it will need to take just four and a half years to get new onshore wind turbines up and running and large solar farms will have to go from idea to generating power in just 15 months.
As uncertainty within the planning system has increased over the years, so has the amount of paperwork required for renewable energy projects.
Britain Remade research revealed that the environmental impact assessment for the East Anglia Two offshore wind farm, which will provide 800,000 homes with clean renewable energy, ran to 10,961 pages.
While the 2020 planning application for Sizewell C ballooned to over 4,000 documents, with the environmental statement for the new nuclear power station alone stretching to over 44,260 pages - almost 13,000 pages longer than Hinkley Point C’s.
With 110GW of renewable energy capacity by the end of the decade, Britain’s exposure to international gas prices would fall dramatically, with gas only needed to generate 5% of the UK’s electricity.
With such a small amount of gas being used to generate power households would be protected against future price shocks.
If international gas prices were to spike by 400% again, electricity bills would only rise by 20%, not 235% as they did between Winter 2021/22 and January 2023. Assuming that electricity bills fell to 2019 levels, this would mean another historic rise in gas prices would only lead to a £10 per month increase in electricity bills for the average household.
By shifting to clean energy and speeding up its delivery households would enjoy an annual clean energy dividend of up to £1,400.
Commenting ahead of the report’s publication Sam Richards, founder and campaign director for Britain Remade, said:
“Our Powerbook report is a playbook for anyone who wants to see Britain become energy secure and powered by abundant cheap clean energy by 2030.
“Since November I’ve been touring the country speaking to people and businesses and one thing is clear, there is huge support for rolling out new sources of clean energy as fast as possible in order to bring energy bills down. To deliver this we need to transform our byzantine planning system. We need to end the ban on onshore wind, the cheapest form of energy, and we need to slash the time it takes to get spades in the ground.
“Speeding up the shift to secure domestic clean energy will deliver a massive clean energy dividend of up to £1,400 for every bill payer – a vast saving for millions of people up and down the country. But to secure this, politicians of all stripes need to act now.
“Britain is the country that gave birth to the Industrial Revolution, split the atom, and built the world’s first commercial nuclear power station. There is no reason why we cannot be a clean energy superpower.”
Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change and Net Zero, Ed Miliband, said:
“This is exactly the kind of ambition we need to drive towards clean power by 2030. It can lower bills, make us more energy secure, create jobs and once again show global climate leadership. I urge all those serious about the green transition to show the scale of vision contained in this document. I look forward to building the broadest coalition to make it happen."
Greg Jackson, CEO of Octopus Energy, said:
“Clean, green energy is the biggest opportunity for economies and businesses since the internet. But there are two giant obstacles stopping a great swathe of British renewables being built - planning and grid connections.
“Readily available investment is impossible to deploy in the UK because the grid system was just not built for a renewable revolution. We need to increase the pace of development 20-fold, and allow faster grid connection and better community buy-in for onshore wind and solar. This will bring down costs and deliver good green growth - a win-win for all.”