From education to employment


green hand holding a plant

New analysis from the CBI has shown that making the most of 27 green growth ‘prizes’ could deliver a £37-57 billion boost to GDP by 2030, equivalent to between 1.6% and 2.4% of GDP.  

But, as other countries make serious pitches for green investment, businesses fear that the UK faces a ticking clock and serious competition to realise these opportunities.  

With policy direction and ambitious goals now locked-in, the CBI is proposing a series of measures to help the UK move urgently into delivery mode to secure investment, boost supply chains and create green jobs:

(1) Deliver a clear and stable policy environment to build business confidence. 

  • Accelerate major policy decisions to stimulate green markets on the supply and demand side, e.g. concrete timetables for phasing out gas boilers and advancing the CCUS cluster process.  
  • Implement a new compulsory Net Zero test for government policy making and work with the Office for Budget Responsibility to make the climate impact of major tax and spending decisions transparent. 
  • All political parties should put green growth at the heart of their manifestos ahead of the forthcoming General Election.  

(2) Devise a comprehensive and competitive set of incentives to enable investment in the green economy. 

  • Review the tax system within the first year of a new government to ensure it supports the net zero transition – alongside considering a new tax credit designed to support and encourage green industries.  
  • Establish a Net Zero Investment Plan, identifying green investment gaps and policy with the intention of crowding in private finance.  
  • All parties should commit to a way forward on carbon pricing and future innovation funding designed to drive industrial demand for crucial green technologies. 

(3) Drive efficiency and improved coordination of delivery mechanisms. 

  • Establish an Office for Net Zero Delivery to ensure consistent delivery across Whitehall departments, alongside new mechanisms to promote coordination between the UK and Devolved Governments.  
  • Incorporate green skills into existing training opportunities and create a statutory requirement for all schools and Further Education institutions to make young people aware of green career pathways available. 
  • Reform the planning systems for both local and major projects to enable faster delivery of green infrastructure, including financial incentives for communities that accommodate critical net zero infrastructure and ensuring all planning processes have a duty to support net zero transition.   
  • Speed up grid connections by replacing the current first-come first-served model with a system that better reflects project delivery milestones. 

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Director-General, said: 

“If we needed any further proof that green growth really is the ‘economic opportunity of the 21st century’ then a potential £57bn boost to the economy provides just that.  

“Not only does it offer hope for lifting the current economic gloom, but it can deliver a path to sustained growth for years to come – all while providing vital protection to our environment, improved energy security and increased prosperity across the country. 

“With a pivotal General Election fast approaching, all parties should be on red alert for green growth and put it at the very heart of their manifestos.” 

On the need to move at speed to realise those prizes, Rain said: 

“The UK has always been an undisputed leader in the transition to net zero, allowing it to go further and faster than many other nations. It was the first major economy to sign net zero into law, has a strong track record on emissions reductions, and has a business community that not only backs the transition but is ready to seize the commercial opportunities available.  

“But, in the wake of the US Inflation Reduction Act and similar moves in the EU, that position is now under threat. With competition for green investment heating up across the globe, the UK faces a race against time to claim the generous growth prizes on offer. That’s why we need decisive action – from government and business – to reclaim our place at the front of the queue.  

“Given the tough fiscal environment, we may not be able to outspend the competition when it comes to attracting green investment, but I’m convinced we can outsmart it. Moving at pace to offer targeted incentives and deliver much-need confidence boosting measures is critical to success.”   

Ben Rhodes, CBI Regional Director for South West England, said:

“Whether it is through exciting initiatives such as Hydrogen South West or offshore wind in the Celtic Sea, the South West is at the forefront of green technologies. With the right government support, we can drive private sector investment that utilises the region’s natural resources and builds upon existing expertise in nuclear, hydrogen and green services.” 

(1) Selection of ‘prizes’ 

These ‘prizes’ fell within seven key areas projected to offer the biggest green opportunities: electric vehicles, low carbon power, heating and insulation, green services, hydrogen, carbon capture and storage (CCUS), and biofuels. They were identified on the following basis: 

  • Ability to deliver net savings – where the ‘green’ technology is predicted to save money at the same time as reducing carbon emissions by 2030.  
  • Size of the domestic market – sectors where domestic investment in 2030 is predicted to be above £1bn per year by 2030. 
  • Export potential – referring to the 11 largest green export markets globally, with a particular focus on our closest neighbours. 
  • UK distinctiveness – the extent to which the UK could already claim to have a strategic advantage, e.g., due to natural assets or first/early-mover status. 
Area Opportunity 2030 prize 
Electric vehicles Export of high-performance IP £16.5bn 
Export of manufactured battery cells £2.2bn – £6.8bn 
Net savings gained from the roll out of EVs £11.5bn 
Investment for the deployment of charging infrastructure £2.3bn – £9.3bn 
Low carbon power Additional investment through growth in offshore wind £32bn 
Additional investment through growth in onshore wind £10bn 
Net savings through deployment of offshore wind £6.9bn 
Net savings through deployment of onshore wind £0.4bn 
Exports of offshore wind cabling to the EU market £1.8bn – £3.7bn 
Export of nuclear SMRs £4.7bn – £5.2bn 
Export of Long Duration Energy and Storage technologies £4.8bn 
Net savings from reduced curtailment costs £2.3bn – 5.6bn 
Heating and insulation Onshoring heat pump manufacturing £0.2bn – £0.4bn 
Net savings from the deployment of district heating £0.3bn – £0.8bn 
Inward investment into district heating networks £5.2bn – £12bn 
Savings created through energy efficiency improvements and modernised heating systems £1.9bn – £6.3bn 
Green services Green finance exports £8.6bn 
Exporting digital services for global grid upgrades £6.5bn – £18bn 
Capturing a share of carbon offset trading markets £16m – £300m 
Biofuels Inward investment to secure SAF refining capacity £2.5bn – £4.2bn 
Investment to scale the biomethane industry £16.7bn – £22.5bn 
Net savings from the deployment of biomethane £2bn – £4.3bn 
CCUS Exports of knowledge based IP £1.4bn – £3.3bn 
Inward investment in domestic CCUS £5bn – £7.5bn 
Export of storage to Europe £0.5bn – £1.1bn 
Hydrogen Export of IP for high-tech parts of the value chain £2.7bn 
Inward investment in domestic hydrogen use cases £5.3 – £6bn 

(2) Calculating economic benefit and impact on GDP 

The economic benefit of the ‘green growth prizes’ is delivered through:  

  • £25-36bn of cost savings derived from developing and deploying green technologies, products and services. 
  • £50-71bn of exploiting export opportunities where the UK has natural advantages. 
  • £79-104bn of inward investment that will boost the capacity of the economy. 

To calculate the annual GDP impact in 2030, the prizes were translated to sector-level increases in gross output that are multiplied by UK-specific direct, indirect, and induced GDP multipliers. Increases in household income from cost savings are assumed to be spent in the domestic economy through increases in consumer spending. 

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