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The UK is at a crucial turning point for its energy security

The UK is at a crucial turning point for its energy security

(Alamy)

4 min read

Countries around the world have been impacted by Russia’s illegal invasion on Ukraine, with Vladimir Putin’s weaponisation of energy disrupting global power suppliers and causing record high gas prices.

As a result, we’ve seen energy become a focus for the British public like never before. So rightly, this has been the government’s focus too.

We’ve delivered unprecedented support with the government covering around half of the typical household’s energy bill over the winter. We have introduced sanctions to ban every item Russia is using on the battlefield, and more recently, created a new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero – to never again allow our energy security to be threatened or the pockets of every family and business to be hit.

By futureproofing our energy system, we are playing our part in reducing inflation and delivering economic security

The new department can now give energy security and net zero the full and dedicated attention they deserve – they are, after all, two sides of the same coin – powering more of Britain from sources including nuclear and renewables. This helps to increase our energy independence and, in turn, our energy security, as well as deliver our priority for the United Kingdom to have amongst the cheapest wholesale electricity prices in Europe. 

Russia’s war against Ukraine has made it clear that we can take no chances on our energy security for the sake of our consumers, businesses, economy and climate.

Putin’s reckless gamble demonstrated something that the UK already appreciated – fossil fuels are not the future. And thankfully, this government has been pressing full speed ahead for many years now on accelerating greener and cheaper energy sources.

The UK’s world-leading progress on creating a cleaner, diverse and flexible energy system has meant we have been able to provide households across all corners of the country with the energy they needed this winter.

And we are determined to go above and beyond so that there are no issues for winters to come.

Our geography has blessed us with domestic oil and gas in the North Sea and taking advantage of our position as a windy, island nation, we are now a global leader in offshore wind power – hosting the world’s four largest wind farms off our shores.

Accelerating our diverse electricity mix, we’ve invested £90bn in renewable energy since 2012, with 40 per cent of our power now coming from cleaner and cheaper renewable sources, during which time the cost of offshore wind power has fallen by almost 70 per cent, while gas prices have hit record highs. 

This has been paired with investing £6.6bn in total this Parliament to improve the energy efficiency of UK homes across the country – the quickest way we can support families and businesses, to respond to rising energy prices.

Investing in a cleaner, more secure energy future also presents vast opportunities for green growth, having already supported 68,000 green jobs since late 2020 and liberated billions of new private investment.

By futureproofing our energy system, we are playing our part in reducing inflation and delivering economic security. 

This includes rapidly progressing developments in hydrogen – a super fuel of the future –  and accelerating breakthrough innovation in Carbon Capture and Storage – the technology of the future, having announced £20bn at the Spring Budget to transform carbon capture in Britain.

This comes alongside committing the first public money in almost 40 years to new nuclear – to secure supply for the future at Sizewell C – with the government also confirming the next steps for Great British Nuclear to revolutionise how new nuclear projects are delivered in the UK.

All of this makes us the leader in this global effort to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, boosting our energy security and independence, and transforming the lives of people across the country for generations to come.  

The actions we are taking now will take us even further and ensure the Putins of this world never again think they can use energy to hold us to ransom. 

 

Lord Callanan, Conservative peer and minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance.

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