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Boris Johnson Promises "Green Industrial Revolution" - But Not Everyone Believes Him

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson painted a green future for Britain in a speech at his Conservative Party Conference. But the workers concerned, of all people, don't seem to believe him.

Boris Johnson is not well received everywhere (Image: Pixabay)Boris Johnson is not well received everywhere (Image: Pixabay)

These are major goals that Boris Johnson outlined in his speech yesterday: The expansion target for offshore wind energy by 2030 will be raised from 30 to 40 gigawatts. This will involve 1 GW of capacity coming from floating offshore wind farms - a technology that is currently on the verge for commercial use.

In addition, the government wants to invest £160 million in the expansion of the necessary infrastructure on the coasts. This will modernise factories and expand ports, create 2,000 jobs in the construction industry and 60,000 more in the supply chain.

These statements are the first stage of a 10-point government plan for a "green industrial revolution", the further stages of which will be announced later this year to "accelerate our progress towards net zero emissions by 2050".

"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," Johnson said. "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."

The Prime Minister also reiterated his recent promise that Britain will soon become the "Saudi Arabia of wind energy", adding: "As Saudi Arabia is to oil, the UK is to wind - a place of almost limitless resource, but in the case of wind without the carbon emissions and without the damage to the environment."

Boris Johnson promises offshore wind for every citizen (Image: Pixabay)

However, energy companies are sceptical about these grand words. Several companies such as Ørsted, ScottishPower and Vattenfall welcomed the announcement, but have called for action at the same time to follow words. Danielle Lane, Vattenfall UK Country Manager: "But for the rhetoric to become reality, it's important that the Government doesn't overlook some significant hurdles. Planning decisions still take far too long, meaning renewable energy projects can be left in limbo for years before they know whether they will be approved. We also need to see a clear strategy in the forthcoming Energy White Paper that goes beyond just thinking about how to make electricity generation greener, and sets out how low-carbon power - including technologies such as onshore wind and solar - will be used to decarbonise industry and transport."

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) warns that other sectors need similar support: “We strongly welcome the Government’s commitment to deliver more electricity from offshore wind in the next decade, rising to 40GW by 2030. If we’re to reach Net Zero UK emissions by 2050, we’ll need to see similarly bold commitments to cut emissions from our buildings, industry, transport and land. But today’s pledge, if delivered, is a positive sign that we’re heading in the right direction.”

Jude Brimble, National Secretary of the GMB, Britain's largest union with 600,000 members, however, has a very clear opinion: “The Prime Minister loves to promise the grass is greener in the sunlit uplands - without any kind of proper plan. It’s not going to wash anymore. The UK desperately needs huge investment in green energy infrastructure and the millions of jobs that it would create. But previous promises of green jobs have seen yards in Britain mothballed and manufacturing contracts outsourced overseas. The Prime Minister is relying on powers the UK may or may not have post-Brexit. Once again his promises look like nothing more than hot air.”

Katrin Radtke
UK, offshore, Boris Johnson, plan, climate goal, gigawatts, investment, jobs, workers, union, promise, hot air, Saudi Arabia

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