Second IDRIC Policy Forum on Industrial Decarbonisation

Over the past few months, the IDRIC policy team has been collating key insights from stakeholders and research on how policy can speed up the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from industry.

On 20th October, we organised the second IDRIC Policy Forum on Industrial Decarbonisation where we presented and discussed a first synthesis of policy priorities for action from our extensive discussions with academia, industry and policy makers this year.

The hybrid event at the Royal Society of the Arts in London brought together representatives from BEIS, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government, several key Third Sector organisations, representatives from the industrial clusters and IDRIC academic experts.

Key take-aways from the discussions:

  • Many of the technology solutions needed to decarbonise industrial processes already exist, but what is needed is their deployment at scale and pace, as well as an integrated perspective at how policy and regulation can support this process.
  • The ongoing energy crisis has highlighted the urgent need to accelerate both the energy transition and our efforts to eliminate industrial emissions, but also heightened some of the challenges involved. In particular, the high cost of electricity presents challenges, not only for the electrification of industrial processes, but also for the economics of electrolytic and low carbon hydrogen production and CCUS.
  • Considerable progress has been made this year in advancing the development of revenue support schemes supporting CCS and hydrogen production and the deployment corresponding transport and storage infrastructure by the UK Government. Avoiding delays in publishing the final business models and opening the next stage in the cluster sequencing process will be key to maintaining the momentum of decarbonisation action across the clusters.
  • More support is needed to support industrial fuel-switching, e.g. to hydrogen or electrification, in both clusters and dispersed sites. Many businesses face uncertainty which routes will be open to them in practice and therefore delay investment decisions. More clarity on what government support and infrastructure will be available for each fuel switching option, as well as relevant timescales, will be crucial to unlock investment.
  • Updating and streamlining planning and consenting legislation as well as relevant permitting regulation will be needed to avoid delays in deploying the necessary infrastructure for electrification, hydrogen and CCUS.
  • A unified system of carbon accounting and standards that can account for emissions across the wider economy, will be key to ensure that efforts to decarbonise industry reduce real-world emissions, rather than push them elsewhere. Implementing economy-wide carbon accounting that takes into account supply chain emissions,
  • Developing the skills needed for the transition to a net zero industry will be vital for ensuring a just transition, which benefits local communities and the workforce across s (as recently also discussed at IDRIC’s report launch on ‘Workforce planning for industrial decarbonisation’).

The discussions at the IDRIC Policy Forum clearly demonstrated the appetite for collaboration between industry, academia and governments at all levels, as well as the contribution this dialogue can make to developing a more integrated understanding of policy needed for industrial decarbonisation.

The IDRIC Policy Team will continue dialogue on these issues before and after the New Year:

  • Watch this space for our upcoming Policy Synthesis Report 2022, which integrates the outcomes from our stakeholder discussions this year and provide the framework for IDRIC’s policy work and event programme in 2023.
  • IDRIC’s policy roundtable program will kick off with a dedicated session on focusing on support for electrification of Industry in February, followed by a session on Improving Planning, consenting and permitting for Net Zero infrastructure in March. These roundtables will focus on practical solutions to support the work of UK policymakers. These will be followed by the next Industrial Decarbonisation Policy Forum in April.

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