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Onshore wind ‘the key to net zero emissions’

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

If new onshore wind projects were allowed to go ahead in the UK, consumers and business would save money on their electricity bills in the decades ahead, and thousands of jobs would be created. 

That’s according to research by independent analysts Vivid Economics following last month’s landmark report on reaching net zero emissions by 2050 by the Committee on Climate Change, which suggested increasing the UK’s onshore wind capacity from 13 gigawatts (GW) now to 35GW by 2035 as part of a low-cost energy strategy for the future.  

The study, “Quantifying the economic benefits of onshore wind to the UK”, commissioned by RenewableUK, shows that building this capacity of new onshore wind instead of gas plants would save an average household £50 a year in 2035, reducing the cost of electricity by 7%. 

The research also shows that the sector would nearly triple employment, supporting 31,000 jobs by 2035 with 14,000 directly employed in the industry (up from 5,300 direct jobs now), if 35GW is deployed.

These jobs would be created throughout the UK, lifting productivity in areas that need it most, particularly in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In 2017, the UK exported £52m worth of onshore wind goods and services according to Government statistics. The study shows that the UK supply chain could capture £360m of the global onshore wind market by 2035, supporting 3,700 jobs in 2035.

However, the researchers point out that onshore wind faces multiple barriers, including exclusion from Government-backed contracts to generate power, and strict rules governing the construction of onshore turbines which have led to a significant decline in planning applications since 2015. The study notes that these barriers have increased uncertainty in the project pipeline, reducing investment in the UK-based supply chain. 

RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive, Emma Pinchbeck, said: “Now that the Government has announced that it will set a legally binding target to reach net zero emissions by 2050,  it needs to make use of the cheapest technology to get there – and to do so swiftly, as people are demanding immediate action on climate change. They also want lower electricity bills in the decades ahead, and skilled jobs. Onshore wind is treated as the Cinderella of energy policy by Government but in reality, it should be their Fairy Godmother – one of the few technologies that can grant all of these wishes. 

“The Government’s climate advisers are also recommending more onshore wind because it’s part of the cheapest route to net zero emissions by 2050. Now is the perfect time for Ministers to take a fresh look at this key technology and dismantle the barriers which are preventing us all from benefiting from it in full”. 

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Grosvenor commits to net zero carbon operational emissions goal

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Major London Property owner Grosvenor Britain & Ireland (GBI) has committed to achieving net zero carbon operational emissions from all its directly managed buildings, including historic listed buildings by 2030.

The business will also report on, and seek to significantly reduce, its embodied carbon emissions – carbon created through associated supply chain and tenant activities. 

To achieve these targets, GBI will eliminate carbon emissions under its control and sustainably design and construct and operate net zero ready buildings, enabling occupiers to reduce or eradicate carbon emissions from their own operations. 

Grosvenor’s portfolio includes its historic London estate of Mayfair and Belgravia encompassing landmarks such as Eaton Square, Grosvenor Square, Mount Street and Victoria Coach Station.

It has also launched a Supply Chain Charter, which commits the business, together with its suppliers, to higher environmental and ethical standards, deepening GBI’s broader contribution to the communities it is active in. 

Key highlights of the commitment include:-

·     Becoming zero carbon:

o  By 2030, GBI will achieve net zero carbon operational emissions from all its directly managed buildings, including listed buildings.

o  GBI will report on, and seek to significantly reduce, the carbon emissions embodied in its supply chain, developments and tenant activity by 2030.

o  The business’ portfolio, including 147 acres of public realm on its London estate, will aspire to be climate positive+ by 2050.

·     Becoming zero waste:

o  GBI will eradicate all waste from buildings and developments in its control by 2030.

o  By working with customers and stakeholders, the business will aspire to eliminate waste from communities where it operates by 2050.

·     Valuing nature:

o  By 2030, GBI’s portfolio will have achieved a significant net biodiversity gain, responding to the need to halt the decline of the UK’s wildlife and restore ecosystems.

o  The business will fully map the materials in its supply chain by 2025 to ensure sustainable provenance.

o  GBI aspires to be water neutral by 2050.

Craig McWilliam, CEO, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, said: “Recent events simply reinforce our view that companies need to have a wholesale rethink on how they use their influence to halt the worsening impacts of climate change. As one of London’s largest property companies and with a growing business bringing forward large scale housing developments, we recognise the far-reaching impact a change in our behaviour can have.

“While we are on track to halve carbon emissions on our London estate by 2023, many of the tools and technologies needed to help us meet these targets are yet to be developed and tested. To be successful, our commitments will require us to work collaboratively and innovate. 

“Through these targets and by working with our supply chain and tenants we can, for example, stimulate the design, construction and operation of zero carbon neighbourhoods at scale.”

In addition, it is bringing forward housing developments in London, Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire, including a pipeline of 15,000 homes across new neighbourhoods delivered through its Strategic Land business. 

Supply Chain Charter Launch

Grosvenor Britain & Ireland has also unveiled a Supply Chain Charter, which commits the business together, with its suppliers, to higher environmental and ethical standards including: 

·       No diesel to be used on the London estate by 2025 and prioritisation of electric equipment.

·       Make a presumption in favour of sustainably sourced materials in design and procurement.

·       Help the business fundamentally change the way its buildings and public realm are designed, constructed and operated.

·       Payment of the Local Living Wage to staff, including apprentices and interns. In 2014, GBI was one of the first UK property companies to pay the London Living Wage to staff and suppliers. 

·       Exclusion of zero-hours contracts, unless requested by the employee.

·       Committing to prompt and fair payment of their own supply chain.

·       Help create inclusive and equitable opportunities for employment in the communities in which GBI is active.

McWilliam added: “If we are truly serious about delivering and accelerating positive change we must partner with those who share our values and ambitions.

“By pushing ourselves to go further, faster these stretching targets will help deliver a better future for the communities we operate in today and future generations. We cannot achieve the change needed alone – together we can achieve more.” 

GBI has more than 1,800 suppliers and will expect all to adhere to, and cascade, relevant charter commitments.  The business says it will work with its partners, and has established a supporting network of expert organisations who will provide advice at no additional cost, to help them achieve the charter’s aims.