Energy UK, the trade association for the GB energy industry has partnered with PWC’s Strategy& team to publish a report on how the energy transition can drive the economic recovery from COVID-19.  The report highlights the unique position of the UK energy sector as a global leader in advanced energy systems and relative decarbonisation to seize the opportunity to power a fairer, cleaner, more resilient economic recovery.

The report sets out five clear priorities for a fairer, cleaner, more resilient recovery:

1          Launch a national housing infrastructure upgrade programme.

2          Further accelerate the transition to low carbon transportation.

3          Unlock more private investment in a digital, flexible and affordable, low carbon energy system.

4          Accelerate the development of regional low carbon industrial clusters and local supply chains.

5          Support workers, businesses and local authorities with their recovery from the crisis.

The energy industry has the ability to support across a breadth of stimulus policy tests including: jobs, net zero, innovation & leadership and fairness.  This report’s recommendations are closely aligned with policy objectives in these areas and are often multi-faceted: upgrades to housing infrastructure improves the fairness of housing standards, reduces energy costs, paves the way for domestic low-carbon energy, boosts GDP and provides energy related employment opportunities.

At the turn of the decade this report illustrates the art of the possible, with the projected creation of 850,000 jobs this decade if the UK uses this economic recovery to drive forward decarbonisation with possible savings of £39bn being achieved by future proofing our energy networks in this decade.  The recent ‘lockdown’ has demonstrated the impact of human behaviour on our environment across the globe as the waters of Venice ran clear and air pollution in New York fell by half.  Whilst the current situation is unprecedented in modern times, history shows that after rapid declines in emissions a rebounding recovery often quickly wipes out any short term reduction. 

As we rebuild and reconnect, there is an unparalleled chance to build a new normal, unleashing the power of our energy industry to drive not only economic recovery but deliver sustainable change.