The government launched its Energy Security Strategy yesterday amid concerns that in leaving out more funding for energy efficiency measures and supporting offshore rather than onshore wind, it failed to tackle the urgent problem of the energy price crisis and global warming in the short term.
The strategy contains plans to increase investment in renewables – off shore wind and new nuclear, alongside a new round of licencing for North Sea oil and gas production. In his foreword to the strategy Boris Johnson said ‘if we’re going to get prices down and keep them there for the long term, we need a flow of energy that is affordable, clean and above all secure’ (1).
Environmental campaigners criticized the approach citing long lead in times for new nuclear – not on stream until 2030’s – the failure to support more onshore wind or to fund energy efficiency measures, which are being seen as cheaper and quicker responses by other European countries such as Germany, France and the Netherlands.
Criticisms also came from the energy sector, with the the Financial Times reporting Michael Lewis, UK chief executive of Eon, Britain’s second-biggest energy company, as saying ‘there was “little” in the strategy that would “deliver a solution this decade, let alone this year” (2).
Whilst Stephen Phipson, CEO of Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation said: “The energy security strategy is the bold, ambitious plan that we need to thwart our dependency on volatile oil and gas prices while firmly marching towards net zero. Exploiting domestic resources is a short-term necessary evil, but undoubtedly the acceleration of the introduction of clean energy is the right way to go. However, these projects cannot be delivered quickly and at a time of spiralling energy costs and a myriad of other financial burdens on business, industry desperately needs urgent action on the part of Government to reduce energy prices in the short term’ (3).
The strategy comes in the same week as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest report, ‘Mitigating Climate Change’, made it clear that greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 and halve by 2030 for the world to avert the worst impacts of global warming. For more on this story see our post: https://acesettleandarea.org/climate-warming-its-now-or-never-warns-ipcc-report/
- British Energy Security Strategy (policy paper): https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/british-energy-security-strategy/british-energy-security-strategy
- ‘UK’s new energy security strategy branded ‘missed opportunity’: https://www.ft.com/content/e78f8178-b230-45d6-86d5-49b1e5b37ac
- ‘Manufacturers react to the British energy security strategy 2022’: https://www.themanufacturer.com/articles/manufacturers-react-to-the-british-energy-security-strategy-2022/
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