ENERGY Minister Kwasi Kwarteng stated that the UK energy market has ‘responded positively’ to the challenges imposed by the coronavirus pandemic in a Group of Twenty (G20) Energy Ministers meeting on 10 April.
G20 is a premier forum for international economic cooperation, which gathers the leaders of the largest economies of the world to discuss financial and socioeconomic issues.
As a result of the Energy Ministers meeting, held virtually to adhere to the social distancing guidelines, the Ministers will ‘aim to build on previous collaborative efforts that have proven their effectiveness in ensuring energy market stability and minimising the impact of the pandemic on energy-related investments and innovation.’
Mr Kwarteng said in his speech: “The global COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest public health emergency and greatest economic challenge we have face in a generation.
“In the UK – as for us all – our primary goal is to protect people’s lives from this virus.
“At the same time, we have also taken decisive action to protect our economy and enable its rapid recovery, including by providing £330bn worth of Government backed and guaranteed loans.
“COVID-19 has brought new challenges to the UK energy sector, and it has responded positively by implementing new measures and working practices to ensure reliable energy supply and a resilient energy sector.
“I commend those working within the energy sector for their efforts in the UK and abroad.
“We will continue to work closely with actors across the sector to ensure that our energy system remains secure and reliable, within a competitive market framework.
“This will support the whole UK economy, including of course those leading the fight back against the virus, to ensure we protect our fellow citizens and support our economy to thrive after this emergency.
“We will also continue to work collaboratively across the G20.
“I welcome actions taken by G20 countries to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19.
“We all recognise the valuable role that many of the broader economic and financial measures that have been introduced by G20 countries as part of the COVID-19 response will have great importance for the energy sector.
“The UK is a strong supporter of free and competitive energy markets.
“Ensuring reliability, stability and security in supply during this global health emergency is vital importance.
“So we will continue to support stable, competitive markets to provide security in supply.
“Beyond the current health emergency, the energy sector will have an important role to play in driving a clean and resilient global recovery.
“Through the ongoing transformation of our energy systems we can secure livelihoods, drive development, and deliver on the Paris Agreement.
“This sector we all know has a central role to play in raising global ambition on the clean energy transition.”
Following their meeting, the G20 Energy Ministers published a shared statement.
“We recognise that energy security is a key enabler for economic activity, an essential element of energy access, and a cornerstone of energy market stability”, the statement read.
“The pandemic has introduced unprecedented challenges and reminds us of the importance of a stable, affordable, sustainable, and uninterrupted supply of energy to meet demand, especially for essential services, such as healthcare, which is crucial to ensure that the global community can overcome this crisis, especially in developing and least developed countries.
“We commit to take all the necessary measures to ensure the balance of interests between producers and consumers, the security of our energy systems and the uninterrupted flow of energy.
“In doing so, we are particularly aware of the need to ensure that health and other sectors that are leading the fight against COVID-19 have the energy supplies that they need.
“We will continue to work closely with actors across the sector to make our energy systems more adaptive and resilient in responding to future emergencies.
“We establish a short-term Focus Group, with the task of developing the response measures.
“The Focus Group is open for all G20 parties, on voluntary basis and will regularly report its assessment during the Saudi G20 Presidency, in collaboration with relevant international organisations, to G20 Energy Ministers.
“We will continue our close cooperation and review both our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and our broader G20 energy agenda—transition towards cleaner and sustainable energy systems—at our scheduled meeting in September, while standing ready to reconvene sooner if necessary.”
The G20 Leaders’ Summit is expected to take place in November in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.