Our greenprint for a cleaner more resilient economic recovery

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. 

We also know that – while tackling coronavirus continues to be our national priority – the climate emergency has not gone away.

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.

That feels a long way off but, unless we act now, the world faces dangerous and costly climate change. 

At a national level, in the wake of coronavirus – and as we look ahead to a post-Brexit world – there is a growing imperative for the UK to build an economy that is not just cleaner but more resilient, too. This means continuing to lead the world on low-carbon technology, while building stronger and sustainable homegrown supply chains that increase our self-sufficiency and security and ensure fair distribution of the benefits in a just transition. 

In all of this, I believe there’s cause for optimism. We’ve made huge strides in the electricity sector and the technological advances we have seen in renewables, smart grids and electric vehicles offer a window into how we can achieve a net zero future by repeating this success across the economy, particularly in transport, industry, and heat. 

Low-carbon investment is a win-win: providing a vital economic boost, creating skilled, sustainable jobs in all UK regions, improving air quality and building our resilience while also driving progress towards our climate change targets. 

Our ‘greenprint’ is simple conceptually. It starts with finishing the job on electricity and creating a net zero power system by 2040. At the same time, electrification is rolled out across the economy, accelerating investment in networks and driving decarbonisation of transport, heat and industry – while working to unlock the benefits of hydrogen. In doing so, we can kickstart a green recovery.

With public finances more stretched than ever in the wake of coronavirus, attracting private sector investment and channelling it into the right areas will be vital. SSE is a UK-listed company with a proud history of developing innovative, low-carbon infrastructure – from the hydro power revolution 70+ years ago to building some of the world’s biggest offshore wind farms and delivering the network improvements to support net zero today.

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. 

This moment in time is a reckoner on many levels, that’s why now is the time to double down on taking climate action.  Coronavirus has demonstrated only concerted, focused effort can solve a crisis – and that goes for the climate emergency too. Our five point action plan is focused on stimulating growth and investment to leave a legacy of a cleaner, more resilient UK economy for the future.