Maritime Research and Offshore Wind Power Investments in UK Green Plan

UK launches Green Industrial Revolution investment plan
(file photo)

Published Nov 18, 2020 8:57 PM by The Maritime Executive

The UK government announced a broad ten-point plan to lead what the Prime Minister called a “green industrial revolution” that is also designed to create jobs. The investment of more than $5 billion includes portions for the maritime industry and offshore wind power as well as other elements ranging from carbon capture to hydrogen, electric vehicles, and public transportation.

“My Ten Point Plan will create, support, and protect hundreds of thousands of green jobs, whilst making strides towards net-zero by 2050,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “Our green industrial revolution will be powered by the wind turbines of Scotland and the North East, propelled by the electric vehicles made in the Midlands and advanced by the latest technologies developed in Wales, so we can look ahead to a more prosperous, greener future.”

Covering clean energy, transport, nature, and innovative technologies, the Prime Minister said the blueprint would allow the UK to forge ahead with eradicating its contribution to climate change by 2050. Among the more attention-getting elements is a ban on new gasoline and diesel cars in the UK from 2030 to be replaced by electric vehicles, investments to green private homes, expanding nuclear power, and restoring nature with a tree planting initiative.

The maritime industry is included within the overall plan. The Prime Minister said they would invest $26.5 million for “greener maritime.” This would be focused on launching a competition to develop clean maritime technology and include feasibility studies.

Maritime UK Chair, Harry Theochari quickly responded to the announcement welcoming the news of the planned investments. “Given maritime's unique capacity to drive growth and employment at a difficult time for the country, the government is absolutely right to view the sector as critical to meeting the UK’s net-zero ambitions and as an engine of the new green industrial revolution. The market for green maritime technology is truly global, and the first country to make real progress towards maritime decarbonization will reap substantial returns. The new green technologies to move vessels must be matched by green infrastructure at ports, so those vessels can recharge and refuel as people and goods come and go,” Maritime UK said in its statement.

Other elements of the plan will also contribute to the maritime industry. The Prime Minister was to produce enough offshore wind to power every home in the UK. He set a goal of quadrupling the amount of power generated from offshore wind to 40GW by 2030.

He also called for investments in hydrogen and hydrogen technology. The goal is by working with industry to generate 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 for industry, transport, power, and homes.

In the field of carbon capture, the Prime Minister wants the UK to become a world-leader in the technology to capture and store harmful emissions away from the atmosphere. The target is to remove 10MT of carbon dioxide by 2030.

In announcing this initiative, which builds on several programs already announced, the Prime Minister said, “this marks the beginning of the UK’s path to net zero, with further plans to reduce emissions whilst creating jobs.

The initiative has sparked much debate and while it has been called a good first step, critics have said it fails to go far enough. They are saying that more investment will be required and bolder initiatives to achieve the goals of reducing carbon emissions and restoring the global environment.