Offshore wind to power every house in UK by 2030, Boris Johnson pledges

PM promotes future roles amid fears of job losses this winter 

Kate Devlin
Whitehall Editor
Tuesday 06 October 2020 09:59 BST
Rishi Sunak admits further job losses possible as he unveils new support scheme

Offshore wind will power every house in the country within a decade, Boris Johnson has pledged.

In his speech to the Conservative party virtual conference the prime minister will say he wants the UK to lead the globe in low-cost clean power and promise to make the UK a world leader in green energy.

As he fights accusations his government is not doing enough to head off economic catastrophe this winter, Mr Johnson will talk of a green industrial revolution that in the next 10 years will create hundreds of thousands if not millions of jobs.

The amount of money involved - such as £160m for ports and factories to manufacture the next generation of turbines - is small in comparison to the many billions spent battling the coronavirus crisis in recent months.

But Mr Johnson will say he wants to help those facing the loss of their livelihood because of the Covid-19 by investing in the jobs of the future.

He will say: “We believe that in 10 years’s time offshore wind will be powering every home in the country, with our target rising from 30 gigawatts to 40 gigawatts.

“Your kettle, your washing machine, your cooker, your heating, your plug-in electric vehicle – the whole lot of them will get their juice cleanly and without guilt from the breezes that blow around these islands.”

He will say that as Saudi Arabia is to oil, the UK is to wind “a place of almost limitless resource, but (in this case) without the carbon emissions and without the damage to the environment”.

“I remember how some people used to sneer at wind power 20 years ago, and say that it wouldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding. They forgot the history of this country. It was offshore wind that puffed the sails of Drake and Raleigh and Nelson, and propelled this country to commercial greatness. This investment in offshore wind alone will help to create 60,000 jobs in this country – and help us to get to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

The government is facing calls to intervene amid warnings of mass redundancies later this year. The furlough scheme, which has seen the government pay the wages of millions of workers, is due to come to an end this month.

The Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, bowed to pressure last month to announce a “winter economic plan”, which will see the Treasury continue to pay a smaller portion of a worker’s salary, as long as they return part-time.

But experts warn the move will still leave employers paying staff for work they are not carrying out and make it attractive to cut worker numbers.

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