Is post-Brexit Britain pinning its future on clean tech?

Offshore wind power
CC BY 2.0 Flickr

Deep in the midst of the election campaign, Donald Trump declared that we'd soon be calling him "Mr Brexit."

Indeed, the populist anger that fueled both the Brexit vote and Trump's rise to power do share some similarities. We must be careful, however, not to take those comparisons too far, because while fossil fuel interests appear to be gaining a foothold stateside, Britain's government is about to unveil an industrial strategy that it says is very much geared to the technologies of the future.

Here's more from Business Green:

Low carbon and environmental industries are set to be central to the new plan. In addition to benefitting from wider programmes to enhance the UK's skills base, upgrade transport and communications infrastructure, and encourage trade, the industrial strategy proposes specific commitments to 'deliver affordable energy and clean growth', support the transition to ultra-low emission vehicles, accelerate the development of smart technologies, and aid the development of next generation nuclear technologies. Reports also suggested the plan will include proposals for a new energy storage and battery research centre.

If true, these reports are a very encouraging sign indeed. They also make complete sense. Recent reports suggest the cost of offshore wind has fallen by 1/3 in just four years, and there's little doubt that the country has become a leader in this one technology alone. If Britain can leverage these successes to build a broader focus on electric vehicles, energy storage, renewables and efficiency, who knows—maybe we Brexit naysayers (yes, I was firmly in the Remania camp) will actually be proven wrong.

Of course, unveiling a strategy and delivering on it are two very different things. Still, at a time when others are placing their bets on the outdated and soon to be obsolete fossil fuels of the past, it's encouraging to see signs that Britain still understands which way the long-term winds are blowing.

Is post-Brexit Britain pinning its future on clean tech?
The comparisons of Trump and Brexit only go so far.

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