UK’s Johnson outlines 30,000 green jobs boost

Spanish renewable energy giant Iberdrola has committed to invest 6 billion pounds ($8.2 billion, 7.1 billion euros) to create Britain’s biggest offshore wind development, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the company said on Monday.

Johnson said the project off the east coast of England, involving Iberdrola subsidiary Scottish Power, would supply enough energy to power 2.7 million homes, and create 7,000 jobs.

The project still requires planning consent. It is one of 18 deals worth a total of 9.7 billion pounds and creating a potential 30,000-plus jobs to be formally announced at a UK Global Investment Summit to support green growth on Tuesday.

Iberdrola chairman Ignacio Galan said the investment would be a “significant step to achieving enough offshore wind to power every UK home by 2030”.

Johnson, who has outlined plans for Britain to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, is keen to burnish his green credentials as he prepares to host world leaders at a crunch UN climate change summit in Glasgow next month.

The COP26 conference is being seen as a last chance to nail down tougher emissions targets to prevent runaway global warming.

The British leader also sees green investment as key to growing the country’s economy after the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit.

“The fantastic 9.7 billion pounds of new investment we have secured today will power our economic recovery, creating thousands of jobs and helping to level up across the country,” he said.

According to Downing Street, other deals to be announced include the development of net-zero warehouses supporting some 14,000 jobs in a 1.5-billion pounds scheme by US investment group Prologis.

Its chief executive Hamid Moghadam said private-sector innovation had “a major role in overcoming the environmental challenges the world faces today”.

Other deals include Turkish company Getir expanding its “sustainable” grocery delivery service across Britain, creating 7,000 permanent jobs next year.

Turkish-owned Eren Paper will produce cardboard from paper waste in Wales, while 100 million pounds will be pumped into hydrogen generation to fuel production at the Budweiser Brewing Group, as well as its lorries and forklift trucks.

Some 200 global business leaders are expected to attend the summit, including Microsoft founder-turned-philanthropist Bill Gates, and JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon.

Johnson’s government will announce its net-zero strategy this week, his office said, focusing on measures to develop a home-grown clean energy sector.

The prime minister wants Britain to shift all of its energy production to renewable sources, including offshore wind, by 2035.

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