The UK plans to dramatically step up its use of wind and nuclear energy to scale back its reliance on oil and gasoline imports, in accordance with the federal government’s new vitality technique printed on Thursday (7 April).
The technique, which goals to spice up UK vitality independence and deal with rising utility payments, plans for as much as 95% of the UK’s electrical energy to return from low carbon or renewable sources by 2030.
The new plans reply to the impression of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Europe’s gasoline provide and vitality market costs. These have already prompted a sequence of EU international locations to overtake their plans for his or her future vitality provide and manufacturing.
As a part of this, ministers have set a goal of manufacturing as much as 50 gigawatts (GW) of vitality by way of offshore wind farms, which the federal government says could be greater than sufficient to energy each house within the UK.
They additionally need to revamp planning legal guidelines to quick observe the event of wind farms and lower approval instances, one thing that’s usually a stumbling block for the wind trade.
However, this has lengthy been a divisive situation within the governing Conservative occasion, with many members deeply sceptical about wind farms.
A brand new physique known as Great British Nuclear can even be launched to drive plans for eight extra nuclear reactors at current websites by 2030. The intention is for nuclear to offer 25% of the UK’s projected energy demand by 2050, equal to 24 GW of electrical energy.
However, opposition politicians and civil society organisations have complained that the UK authorities’s blueprint accommodates little on bettering vitality effectivity in houses and elsewhere.
In distinction, the European Commission’s plan to interrupt away from Russian vitality included a concentrate on vitality effectivity measures, like turning down thermostats by 1°C, which the International Energy Agency mentioned would save 10 billion cubic metres of gasoline per yr.
Building vitality independency
The UK solely imports 4% of its gasoline from Russia, making it far much less depending on Russian fossil fuels than many EU international locations. However, it’s extremely weak to fluctuations within the gasoline market. Britons are already going through hefty vitality value will increase of round 50% which got here into impact in the beginning of April.
To enhance the UK’s home provide of vitality, ministers will launch a brand new licensing spherical for North Sea gasoline extraction initiatives this summer season. Currently, round half of the UK’s gasoline necessities are domestically produced from the North Sea, whereas one other third is sourced from Norway.
Speaking on the Hinkley Point C nuclear energy plant, Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned the technique was about “tackling the mistakes of the past and making sure that we are set well for the future”.
“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,” mentioned Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.
However, Kwarteng conceded that the federal government plan wouldn’t result in a drop in shopper vitality payments any time quickly and that the “strategy is more of a medium-term three, four, five-year answer”.
Labour chief Keir Starmer dismissed the technique as a “cobbled-together list of things that could and should have been done over the last 10 to 12 years” and “too little, too late”.
[Edited by Kira Taylor]