UK invests in SAF on path to net zero

Posted on 19 October, 2021 by Advance 

Ahead of COP26, a landmark Net Zero Strategy setting out how the UK will secure 440,000 well-paid jobs and unlock £90 billion in investment in 2030 on its path to ending its contribution to climate change by 2050 has been unveiled by the UK government today, including investment into the commercialisation of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

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Building on the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan, today’s UK Net Zero Strategy sets out a comprehensive economy-wide plan for how British businesses and consumers will be supported in making the transition to clean energy and green technology – lowering the Britain’s reliance on fossil fuels by investing in sustainable clean energy in the UK, reducing the risk of high and volatile prices in the future, and strengthening our energy security.

The commitments made will unlock up to £90 billion of private investment by 2030 and support 440,000 well-paid jobs in green industries in 2030. This will provide certainty to businesses to support the UK in gaining a competitive edge in the latest low carbon technologies – from heat pumps to electric vehicles – and in developing thriving green industries in our industrial heartlands – from carbon capture to hydrogen, backed by new funding.

As part of the strategy, new investment announced today includes efforts to kick-start the commercialisation of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) made from sustainable materials such as everyday household waste, flue gases from industry, carbon captured from the atmosphere and excess electricity, which produce over 70% fewer carbon emissions than traditional jet fuel on a lifecycle basis. The ambition is to enable the delivery of 10% SAF by 2030 and we will be supporting UK industry with £180 million in funding to support the development of UK SAF plants

The policies and spending brought forward in the Net Zero Strategy mean that since the 10 Point Plan, the government has mobilised £26 billion of government capital investment for the green industrial revolution. More than £5.8 billion of foreign investment in green projects has also been secured since the launch of the 10 Point Plan, along with at least 56,000 jobs in the UK’s clean industries – and another 18 deals have been set out at the Global Investment Summit to support growth in vital sectors such as wind and hydrogen energy, sustainable homes and carbon capture and storage.

Through energy efficiency measures, falling costs of renewables and more, the measures in the strategy also mean people’s energy bills will be lower by 2024 than if no action was taken particularly as gas prices rise.

As the first major economy to commit in law to net zero by 2050 and hosts of the historic UN COP26 climate summit, the UK is leading international efforts and setting the bar for countries around the world to follow. The UK has hit every carbon budget to date - today’s Net Zero Strategy sets out clear policies and proposals for meeting our fourth and fifth carbon budgets, and keeps us on track for carbon budget 6, our ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), while setting out a vision for a decarbonised economy in 2050.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "The UK’s path to ending our contribution to climate change will be paved with well-paid jobs, billions in investment and thriving green industries – powering our green industrial revolution across the country.

"By moving first and taking bold action, we will build a defining competitive edge in electric vehicles, offshore wind, carbon capture technology and more, whilst supporting people and businesses along the way.

"With the major climate summit COP26 just around the corner, our strategy sets the example for other countries to build back greener too as we lead the charge towards global net zero."

Both the Net Zero and Heat and Building Strategies build on the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan in November 2020 which laid the foundations for a green industrial revolution, kick-starting billions of pounds of investment in new and green industries to help level up the country. To date, the UK has decarbonised faster than any other G7 country.

Published alongside these two strategies today is HM Treasury’s Net Zero Review, an analytical report which explores the key issues as the UK decarbonises. It helps to build a picture of where opportunities could arise and the factors to be taken into account when designing decarbonisation policy. While there are costs in reaching net zero, the cost of inaction is much higher.

The strategies published today build on an ambitious set of existing policies: the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the Energy White Paper, North Sea Transition Deal, Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, Transport Decarbonisation Plan and Hydrogen Strategy and the recent landmark commitment to decarbonise the UK’s electricity system by 2035.

The Net Zero Strategy will be submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as the UK’s second Long Term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy under the Paris Agreement.

Also published today is UK’s first Net Zero Research and Innovation Framework which will support the delivery of the Net Zero Strategy by setting out the key net zero research and innovation priority areas for the UK over the next five to 10 years. Together these documents set out a long-term plan for the green economy that the government will report against.

COP President-Designate, Alok Sharma said: "The UK continues to show climate leadership as we publish our roadmap to net zero by 2050. It shows the wealth of opportunities, including thousands of new skilled jobs, that a transition to a green economy can herald.

"With COP26 opening in less than two weeks, leaders stepping up with more commitments has never been more urgent. I’m calling on countries across the world, particularly the G20, to commit to net zero by mid-century, ambitious 2030 emissions reduction targets and to set out credible implementation plans so we can limit global warming to well below 2C and keep the goal of 1.5 degrees within reach."

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "We published our Transport Decarbonisation Plan in July which was just the start – as we look ahead to the COP26 climate change conference and beyond, we need to continue our efforts to deliver its ambitious commitments. This will provide certainty to drivers and industry as we create sustainable economic growth, boost job opportunities and clean up the air in our towns and cities. Not only this – by boosting our world-leading sustainable aviation fuels programme with £180 million in funding, we can accelerate the development of sustainable aviation fuel plants in the UK and create thousands of green jobs across the country.

Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said: "We need a whole systems approach for reducing our carbon emissions. The Net Zero Strategy establishes what is needed to decarbonise our economy over the next 30 years. In particular, it highlights the intensive activity needed in the next decade - from early-stage research to deployment of mature technologies, through to better understanding on how to help people make greener choices."

Stephen Phipson, CEO of Make UK said: "Today’s plans are a very positive step on the journey to net zero by 2050, with practical support to help businesses transition to green and clean production processes. The creation of two hydrogen clusters in Britain’s industrial heartlands puts our manufacturing powerhouse at the centre of innovation and will enable companies to make the switch away from fossil fuels at greater speed. It will be vital to produce enough hydrogen supply to feed not just the industrial clusters but all the manufacturers across the country.

"The infrastructure boost for EV cars and vans is a much needed and practical step forward and will be welcomed by industry. But defining the technology for HGVs, which are vital to manufacturing logistics, must not be forgotten. To build on this, it is important to make sure that today’s green investment plans go hand in hand with upskilling of the country’s workforces to make sure that we have the green skills to make these essential changes a reality."

Louise Kingham, BP’s Senior Vice President, Europe and Head of Country, UK said: "BP welcomes today’s announcement and we look forward to our role supporting the UK’s net zero ambitions, be it progressing green infrastructure such as the East Coast Cluster CCUS project, developing hydrogen projects, rolling out EV charge points, developing offshore wind and creating the green jobs of the future."

Chair of Sustainable Aviation Adam Morton said: “The ambition for aviation underpinning today’s Net Zero Strategy announcement is very welcome and a substantial step forward. In particular, the £180 million funding to support the development of Sustainable Aviation Fuel plants will play an important part in making SAF usage at scale a reality.
"SAF is ready now and has an essential role to play towards achieving UK aviation’s net zero target, particularly for long-haul routes. The UK has the right skills, infrastructure and feedstocks to lead the world in SAF commercialisation, drive down aviation emissions and create thousands of new green jobs this decade.
"A UK SAF mandate can also work but only if the supply exists and if fuels are affordable, which is why in addition to today’s positive announcement we need the right policies, such as a price mechanism, to bridge the price gap between SAFs and fossil jet fuel and for these to be announced as early as possible.
"We look forward to more detail on the journey to aviation decarbonisation in the upcoming Jet Zero Strategy, including on the delivery of the other key elements of our roadmap to Jet Zero, such as increased support for hydrogen and electric aircraft and delivering airspace modernisation and innovative carbon removal technologies.”