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A successful energy transition has the potential to deliver the economic growth the UK needs

David Whitehouse, CEO

David Whitehouse, CEO | Offshore Energies UK (OEUK)

3 min read Partner content

Reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050 will require major changes to every industry, region, and part of our society.

The choices made this year by our politicians will be felt for decades to come. Setting big targets can be easy, meeting them is the hard bit. One thing is for sure, we won’t be successful if we don’t support our existing UK industries, and if we don’t address the needs of communities up and down the country. With households struggling to pay the bills, we need policy that shields consumers from upfront costs and delivers enduring value to our economy.

While we have made huge strides in renewables, electricity still only represents around 20% of the UK’s total energy consumption. The challenges and opportunities in the way we power the nation are inspiring. We can choose to get there by making the most of our people, skills, and heritage, or we can choose to increasingly rely on those of other countries.

Our offshore energy industry is a jewel in our industrial crown. To unleash the UK’s potential and power our future, we ask those seeking to lead the next UK government to choose a homegrown energy transition.

The Independent Office for Budgetary Responsibility estimates the UK needs £1.4 trillion to get to net zero by 2050 with the lion’s share coming from the private sector. This is a huge opportunity for the UK to build on our world class strengths to create high skilled jobs not only in oil and gas sector but carbon capture and storage, offshore wind, and the hydrogen economy.

With public finances challenged on all fronts, we should be encouraging energy businesses to step up and invest in UK energy security and the transition to low carbon energies. We are in a global race for energy investment that we must win. But we continue to scare off investors with our instability and windfall taxes on energy firms. Without a stable environment that allows a fair return, no-one will invest.

If we get this right, with an attractive investment environment and a strong industrial economy, UK offshore energy companies could invest £200 billion in homegrown energy production this decade alone. This investment will help realise 50 gigawatts of wind, 10 gigawatts of hydrogen, while scaling up at least four carbon capture and storage clusters and supporting homegrown oil and gas, our energy security and our decommissioning commitments.

Many of the companies investing in nascent opportunities like floating offshore wind and carbon capture require the cash flow from a stable and predictable oil and gas business. This approach can enable these businesses and their supply chains to safeguard 200,000 jobs in the UK, including 90,000 in Scotland and across nearly every parliamentary constituency from Shetland to Southampton, while continuing to deliver economic value.

Skilled jobs. Secure energy. A sustainable future, and a sustainable journey too. Let’s work together to unleash our potential, and power our future. Let’s choose a homegrown energy transition.

OEUK Industry Manifesto

 

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