- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
- Specialist wikis
Last edited 10 Dec 2020
Achieving zero carbon
December 2019’s general election not only delivered a big-majority Conservative government and confirmed full steam ahead for Brexit, it also answered the question of which manifesto for a ‘zero carbon Britain’ we need to take notice of.
How the Conservative’s climate change manifesto rolls out in practice will soon be tested by new energy and environmental Bills and the imminent March Budget, but the broad commitments to ‘fight climate change’ and achieve a ‘net zero carbon’ UK economy by 2050 are there.
Remarkably, while the Conservative manifesto could have been confused with a love letter to offshore wind power – some 40GW of relatively low-cost wind capacity is anticipated by the end of this decade – it had nothing to say about onshore wind, which is an even cheaper source of low- to no-carbon energy. Nor was there any mention of developing our enormous potential for tidal power, even though projects around Wales in particular could contribute massively to decarbonising the UK energy network and help electric heating to elbow domestic and commercial fossil-fuelled heat aside.
However, looking elsewhere in the manifesto, we see welcome commitments to further boost the UK EV charging network, to reduce carbon emissions and help to improve urban air quality, and to spend billions on domestic and public-sector energy efficiency. Beyond this, the manifesto starts to become more fanciful, with references to floating wind farms (interesting) a UK battery ‘Gigafactory’ (noting Tesla decided its own Gigafactory will be in Berlin) and additional fusion energy research (fingers crossed).
ECA’s assessment of current low- to no-carbon opportunities counts around 15 types of electrotechnical technology, including industry front runners such as lighting and EV charging. We will be actively discussing all these technologies, and the skills needed to deliver them at scale, with government and other key stakeholders in 2020 and beyond.
And that 2050 Government ‘net-zero carbon’ target? Some might say 2050 is booting the ball well into somebody else’s long grass. Our conversations with government and other key stakeholders will look for action over a much shorter timescale than the next 30 years. And so finally, a call to action: if any company, from across our industry, is able to share low-carbon energy solutions that have been installed and are already delivering significant carbon reductions, the ECA would be very pleased to hear from them at: uk [email protected]uk
Let us see what we can do to get zero carbon done.
 About this article
This article was written by Paul Reeve, Director of CSR at the Electrical Contractors' Association (ECA). It previously appeared on the ECA website in January 2020 under the title ‘What can we do to get Zero Carbon done’? It can be accessed HERE.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- A zero-carbon UK by 2050?
- Carbon footprint.
- Carbon negative.
- Carbon neutral.
- CIBSE Case Study: Walgreens net zero energy drugstore.
- CIOB responds to Sixth Carbon Budget.
- Climate Change Act.
- Low or zero carbon technologies.
- Nearly zero-energy building.
- Net zero carbon building.
- What we need for the journey to net-zero carbon emissions.
- Zero Bills Home.
- Zero carbon homes.
- Zero carbon non domestic buildings.
Featured articles and news
The teacher, architectural technologist and mum offers her insights.
Careful planning needed as supply chain issues continue.
The sensitive conversion of a neglected Cornwall structure.
Plan stresses local involvement in city, town and village development.
Environment Agency publishes BAT guidance.
CLC guidance outlines carbon reduction priorities.
Making the most of a staycation.
Organisation urges G20 to revisit wind energy.
The historian spent much of his life compiling architectural resources.
How technology can expose efficiency levels in existing buildings.
The garden heritage of Oxford and Cambridge. Book reviews.
Building capacity to better manage heritage.