LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson will outline plans on Tuesday for Britain to “build back greener” from the coronavirus pandemic by committing funds to boost Britain’s offshore wind energy capacity.
The 160 million pound ($208 million) investment into ports and factories is part of a drive to quadruple Britain’s offshore wind capacity to 40 gigawatts (GW) by 2030. That is equivalent to around half of Britain’s electricity capacity today from all sources.
Johnson is under pressure over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic: his government’s response has been cast by opponents as slow, poorly organised and confusing. Cases have been rising in recent weeks, forcing the government to impose local lockdown measures across much of the country.
In a speech to the Conservative Party Conference, due at 1030 GMT, Johnson will say Britain must seize upon a “green industrial revolution” that has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of jobs.
“We need to give people the chance to train for the new jobs that are being created every day – in new technologies and new ways of doing things,” Johnson will say.
Economists say unemployment is likely to rise sharply once a programme to subsidise workers furloughed because of the pandemic closes at the end of this month, and the economy looks on course for its biggest annual decline since the 1920s.
Johnson will also announce plans to build floating wind farms that will deliver 1 GW of energy.
“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,” Johnson will say.
(Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by Peter Graff)