Campaign

Sustainable infrastructure: the key to achieving energy transition

Last updated 11 November 2021

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According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), around 60% of global emissions are related to infrastructure.

To achieve the transition to resource efficient and sustainable energy generation requires the implementation of the latest clean technologies.

The UK supply chain is more than capable of addressing the needs of the energy transition in a large number of infrastructure assets around the country and around the world.

Transforming the energy infrastructure

Here are some ways the UK’s energy infrastructure can be changed to remove barriers to cleaner energy.

Heat pumps: key to the decarbonisation of buildings

In all industrialised nations, buildings are the largest emitters of carbon, and without decarbonising them, lower emissions targets will not be reached.

In addition to supporting around 50,000 jobs by 2030, our Ten Point Plan provides an opportunity to develop the growing UK heat pump manufacturing base and expand supply chains for building efficiency.

Funding and regulatory measures, delivered in partnership with industry, will stimulate near-term investment into this generating method.

In our Ten Point Plan, we have committed to increasing annual heat pump installation in the UK to at least 600,000 a year by 2028 – that’s over half of the EU’s annual installation rate.

In response, we are seeing investment into new and expanding manufacturing processes, innovation in research and development (R&D), and an enhanced capability to deliver low carbon solutions at home and internationally.

Your business could potentially have a major role to play in fulfilling that potential.

Engineering: well placed to support the transition

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Energy production, manufacturing, alternative energy production, civil engineering, chemical engineering, construction: the UK’s engineering industry is in a good position to support the energy transition, both at home and internationally.

As demand increases, more engineers from all disciplines will be required to design, build, operate, and make safe the infrastructure and technologies for decarbonisation.

23% (£1.23 million) of the UK’s total turnover is generated by the engineering sector, with manufacturing remaining the largest contributor to the engineering sectors. The UK has capability in these sub-sectors and along the supply chains and can offer – to name a few:

  • Architectural, design and quantity surveying
  • Manufacture of products and materials including metal structures, joinery, construction products etc.
  • Knowledge and expertise in energy efficient and energy-using products
  • Understanding of environmental and chemical legislation

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Mining for raw materials: the sustainable way forward

The transition to a low carbon and digital economy, coupled with the increasing global population who can afford energy, consumer goods and transport, means that we need to mine more raw materials and a wider range of raw materials than ever before.

The World Bank suggests that the production of minerals, such as graphite, lithium and cobalt, could increase by nearly 500% by 2050, to meet the growing demand for clean energy technologies. Sustainable mining refers to minimising the negative environmental, social, and economic impacts associated with mining – ensuring that present needs are being met without compromising the needs for future generations.

It also takes into account the sustainable long-term national economic benefit that can be derived from the investment.

The UK is a key player in the global mining sector: 4 of the 10 largest global diversified mining companies are headquartered and/or listed in London, and the city is home to 171 mining companies accounting for approximately 21% of the total market capitalisation of all listed mining firms worldwide. These are supported by an extensive mining supply chain supporting the delivery of innovative, low carbon mining solutions that help achieve significant design and operational efficiencies across the mining lifecycle, minimising environmental impact and supporting more sustainable 21st century mining.

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Clean Growth: Sustainable Infrastructure

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Responsible for a high percentage of global emissions, infrastructure presents UK Clean Growth partner businesses, products and services with a big export opportunity.

If making energy infrastructure more sustainable is an export opportunity that your business could profit from, visit Great.gov.uk and then talk to us about how we can help.