British Energy Security Strategy unveiled

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The much-anticipated British Energy Security Strategy has been published, setting out out how Great Britain will accelerate the deployment of wind, new nuclear, solar and hydrogen, whilst supporting the production of domestic oil and gas in the nearer term.

Business and Energy Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, commented on the announcement: “We have seen record high gas prices around the world. We need to protect ourselves from price spikes in the future by accelerating our move towards cleaner, cheaper, home-grown energy.

“The simple truth is that the more cheap, clean power we generate within our borders, the less exposed we will be to eye watering fossil fuel prices set by global markets we can’t control.

“Scaling up cheap renewables and new nuclear, while maximising North Sea production, is the best and only way to ensure our energy independence over the coming years.”

Highlights from the new Strategy include:

  • Nuclear: The government has an ambition of up to 24GW by 2050 to come from nuclear. A new government body, Great British Nuclear, will be set up immediately to bring forward new projects.
  • Oil and gas: A licensing round for new North Sea oil and gas projects is planned to launch in autumn, with a new taskforce providing bespoke support to new developments.
  • Onshore wind: The government will be consulting on developing partnerships with a limited number of supportive communities who wish to host new onshore wind infrastructure in return for guaranteed lower energy bills.
  • Offshore wind: A new ambition of up to 50GW by 2030 – more than enough to power every home in the UK – of which the government would like to see up to 5GW from floating offshore wind in deeper seas. This will be underpinned by new planning reforms to cut the approval times for new offshore wind farms from four years to one year.
  • Solar: The government is looking into increasing UK’s current 14GW of solar capacity, which could grow up to five times by 2035, consulting on the rules for solar projects, particularly on domestic and commercial rooftops.
  • Hydrogen: The government will aim to double its ambition to up to 10GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030, with at least half coming from green hydrogen and utilising excess offshore wind power to bring down costs.
  • Heat pump manufacturing: The government will run a Heat Pump Investment Accelerator Competition in 2022 worth up to £30 million to make British heat pumps.

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist, commented on the Strategy: “This Strategy sets an ambitious bar for a more resilient, low carbon energy system for the future. Bold words must now be matched by bold actions from the government.

“The proof will be in the Strategy’s delivery, in partnership between business and government. Business believes greater energy independence must go hand-in-hand with delivering a net-zero, higher growth economy.

“Increasing our domestic generating capacity is an essential part of dealing with the current energy crisis. Big bets on nuclear will provide clean and stable power for consumers and businesses. This scale of ambition should be replicated for other renewable technologies like onshore wind. Commitment to planning reforms and rapid approvals is what will really make the difference now.”

Yesterday the government also announced their commitment to create a new Future System Operator to oversee the UK energy system.

The British Energy Security Strategy is available on the UK Government website.