Scottish energy firm SSE has written to the prime minister with a “greenprint” to rebuild the UK economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It said yesterday it wanted Boris Johnson to “green light” billions of pounds of private investment in low carbon infrastructure.
Similar letters have gone to the Treasury and Department for Business, Energy, Innovation and Skills.
SSE said Westminster’s support for a net zero carbon emissions energy sector by 2040 would help the UK’s economic recovery and put the country on track to meet its climate action commitments.
Chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said SSE’s ideas were focused on growth and investment to “leave a legacy of a cleaner, more resilient UK economy for the future”.
UK Government backing for 75 gigawatts of offshore wind energy, five carbon capture and storage projects, hydrogen power clusters and plans to regenerate electricity “motorways” to transport clean power to more homes and businesses would help support a return to growth, Perth-based SSE added.
The firm also wants the government to introduce a “green fiscal rule” to penalise carbon emitters and incentivise the switch to cleaner power.
In addition, its “greenprint” includes making homes more energy efficient, government action to stimulate investment in a “world-leading” electric vehicle charging network and bringing forward the planned ban on petrol and diesel vehicles to 2030.
Mr Phillips-Davies said: “This moment in time is pivotal on many levels – it’s even more important to double down on climate action.
“Coronavirus has demonstrated only concerted, focused effort can solve a crisis – and that goes for the climate emergency too.
“We stand ready to invest billions in the coming years and want to play a key role in the UK’s recovery.
“We are unashamedly biased in promoting practical, deliverable solutions that could help unlock this investment from ourselves and others.”
SSE said it had a proud history of developing low-carbon infrastructure, from the hydro power “revolution” in the 1940s to building some of the world’s biggest offshore wind farms and electricity networks.
It added its “greenprint” and progress on projects “ripe for investment” were “exactly the type of boost the economy and energy sector need” to support long-term, sustainable jobs and contribute to economic growth.
Tackling Covid-19 remains a national priority but the climate emergency has not gone away, Mr Alistair Phillips-Davies said, adding: “While it is still too early to predict with confidence the full human, social and economic impact of coronavirus, we can say with certainty that significant investment will be needed to rebuild the UK economy in its wake.
“Although not as immediately felt as those from coronavirus, the impacts from a failure to deal with climate change could be even greater – that’s why delivering on the UK’s net zero emissions target by 2050, and 2045 in Scotland, is as important as ever.
“Low-carbon investment is a win-win – providing a vital economic boost, creating skilled, sustainable jobs in all UK regions to support a just transition, improving air quality and building our resilience, while also driving progress towards our climate change targets.”