In October, the UK government set out its strategy to get the country to “net zero” – where greenhouse gas emissions are reduced to a minimum and are offset by other measures – by the year 2050. The plan involves “leveraging up to £90 billion of private investment by 2030”.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4, the business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng was challenged to provide evidence for this figure. In his reply, Kwarteng said: “We’ve already seen £100bn in the last nine years deployed in offshore wind in one particular renewables sector. So it’s not a heroic assumption to say that by 2030 we will have attracted an additional £90bn, which of course is less, you will notice, than the £100bn that we’ve stimulated in offshore wind investment.”
But when Channel 4 FactCheck asked the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to provide a source for the £100bn claim, they told them the real figure was “around £47 billion”.
The stat – which is relayed in the government’s own Net Zero Strategy document – comes from Wind Europe, a Brussels-based trade body representing the wind energy sector.
The report the Department showed us reveals that, while the UK has been “the biggest offshore wind market for capital spending commitments over the last ten years”, the investment we’ve attracted in that time totals 56bn euros (roughly £47bn, as the Department said).
It seems the £100bn figure refers to offshore wind investment since 2010 across all of Europe, of which the UK attracted about half.
The UK government’s figure, and the claim from Kwasi Kwarteng, were misleading. As far as we can tell, he has not corrected his false figure. We contacted Mr Kwarteng repeatedly so that he could have the chance to correct his misleading statement. No answer.