Richard Cockburn, partner and head of energy & natural resources, comments on the energy announcements set out in Rishi Sunak's Spring Budget.
Aberdeen renewable energy zone
"This is a welcome commitment by the UK government which will help to accelerate North East Scotland's transition to clean energy. Aberdeen and the surrounding area have a long heritage in oil & gas - this investment will build on that expertise as the area transforms itself into a global energy cluster. Alongside this commitment, the announcements by the UK chancellor of £5m into the new Global Underwater Hub and up to £2m to develop further the forthcoming North Sea Transition Deal – a vital part of the UK's move to net zero – constitute strong messages of support for the Scottish energy sector".
"Green bonds are very popular at the moment – Swedish bank SEB recently forecast that around USD500bn in green debt would be issued in 2021 – as they facilitate the funding of climate-related projects. The UK government is tapping into that demand, following upon similar measures by Germany, France, Poland and Ireland. The UK government sees this as another way of encouraging the economy to 'build back greener' and it is a demonstration of clean energy intent in advance of the COP26 conference in Glasgow later this year."
Clean energy support
"The UK government's announcement of a £20m competition to develop floating offshore wind projects is recognition of the important role that floating wind has to play as part of our offshore mix, especially in deeper waters. The offer of support in principle to Able Marine Energy Park for its upgrade to accommodate offshore wind is welcome as is the decision to sign a memorandum of understanding with Teesworks Offshore Manufacturing Centre on Teesside to support the development of another offshore wind port hub. Energy storage is going to be a critical part of our reformed and upgraded energy infrastructure so the £68m announcement today of a system for low carbon energy storage is a welcome boost. Additionally, the £4m fund announced for exploring new means of boosting clean energy crops and forestry is an important contribution to efforts to tackle carbon emissions. The UK government has also announced that it will provide £4.8 million to support the development of a hydrogen hub in Holyhead (subject to business a case approval) – this is intended to investigate and showcase the creation of hydrogen from renewable energy and its use as a zero emission fuel in heavy goods vehicles. Hydrogen is a rapidly growing part of the clean energy mix and measures such as this expedite expansion of new hydrogen technologies".