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Major acceleration of homegrown power in Britain’s plan for greater energy independence

Clean Energy 4/6/2022 12:00:00 AM

Could see 95% of electricity by 2030 being low carbon

  • The Prime Minister’s plan boosts Britain’s energy security following rising global energy prices and volatility in international markets
  • bold new commitments to supercharge clean energy and accelerate deployment, which could see 95% of Great Britain’s electricity set to be low carbon by 2030
  • ambitious, quicker expansion of nuclear, wind, solar, hydrogen, oil and gas, including delivering the equivalent to one nuclear reactor a year instead of one a decade
  • over 40,000 more jobs in clean industries to be supported thanks to measures, totalling 480,000 jobs by 2030

Cleaner and more affordable energy to be made in Great Britain under bold plans to boost long-term energy independence, security and prosperity.

The government’s British Energy Security Strategy sets 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 – which could see 95% of electricity by 2030 being low carbon.

The strategy will see a significant acceleration of nuclear, with an ambition of up to 24GW by 2050 to come from this safe, clean, and reliable source of power. This would represent up to around 25% of our projected electricity demand. Subject to technology readiness from industry, Small Modular Reactors will form a key part of the nuclear project pipeline.

A new government body, Great British Nuclear, will be set up immediately to bring forward new projects, backed by substantial funding, and we will launch the £120 million Future Nuclear Enabling Fund this month. We will work to progress a series of projects as soon as possible this decade, including Wylfa site in Anglesey. This could mean delivering up to eight reactors, equivalent to one reactor a year instead of one a decade, accelerating nuclear in Britain.

Our ambitious plans also include:

  • Offshore wind: A new ambition of up to 50GW by 2030 – more than enough to power every home in the UK – of which we 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 4 years to 1 year and an overall streamlining which will radically reduce the time it takes for new projects to reach construction stages while improving the environment.
  • Oil and gas: A licensing round for new North Sea oil and gas projects planned to launch in Autumn, with a new taskforce providing bespoke support to new developments – recognising the importance of these fuels to the transition and to our energy security, and that producing gas in the UK has a lower carbon footprint than imported from abroad.
  • Onshore wind: We 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.
  • Heat pump manufacturing: We will run a Heat Pump Investment Accelerator Competition in 2022 worth up to £30 million to make British heat pumps, which reduce demand for gas.

We will also look to increase the UK’s current 14GW of solar capacity which could grow up to 5 times by 2035, consulting on the rules for solar projects, particularly on domestic and commercial rooftops.

We will aim to double our 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. This will not only provide cleaner energy for vital British industries to move away from expensive fossil fuels, but could also be used for cleaner power, transport and potentially heat.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said:

We’re setting out bold plans to scale up and accelerate affordable, clean and secure energy made in Britain, for Britain – from new nuclear to offshore wind – in the decade ahead.

This will reduce our dependence on power sources exposed to volatile international prices we cannot control, so we can enjoy greater energy self-sufficiency with cheaper bills.

This plan comes in light of rising global energy prices, provoked by surging demand after the pandemic as well as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This will be central to weaning Britain off expensive fossil fuels, which are subject to volatile gas prices set by international markets we are unable to control, and boosting our diverse sources of homegrown energy for greater energy security in the long-term.

Consumer bills will be lower this decade than they otherwise would be as a result of the measures this government has taken.

The British Energy Security Strategy will also increase the number of clean jobs in the UK by supporting; 90,000 jobs in offshore wind by 2028 – 30,000 more than previously expected; 10,000 jobs in solar power by 2028 – almost double our previous expectations; and 12,000 jobs in the UK hydrogen industry by 2030 – 3,000 more than previously expected.

In total, the British Energy Security Strategy builds on the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, and, together with the Net Zero Strategy, is driving an unprecedented £100 billion of private sector investment into new British industries including Offshore Wind and supporting 480,000 new clean jobs by the end of the decade.

Business and Energy Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, said:

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.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Hands said:

Boosting our renewable energy supply is the only way for us to take control of energy prices. We are already a world leader in offshore wind, but we want to go further and faster so that clean, cheap energy becomes the norm.

Although we don’t rely on Russian energy, accelerating our transition to renewable energy is the best thing we can do to protect the British people and to drive economic growth.

The strategy follows a series of engagement by the Prime Minister and ministers across government with key industry leaders, including from the oil and gas, wind and nuclear sectors. The government continue to work with industry in the coming weeks to drive forward these commitments as fast as industry can deliver.

Clare Jackson, CEO of Hydrogen UK, said:

We are thrilled that the government has doubled down on hydrogen by increasing the production target to 10GW, recognising that hydrogen is a key part of the net zero transition. This new goal will allow industry to unleash investment, bring down costs and widen the use-case for hydrogen, exploring its potential in transport, heavy industry and to heat homes.

Shell CEO, Ben van Beurden, said:

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure an orderly transition to net zero while bolstering the UK’s energy security and Shell is ready to play our part. We plan to invest up to £25 billion in the UK energy system over the next decade subject to Board approval, and more than 75% of this is for low and zero-carbon technology. Offshore wind, hydrogen and CCS will all be critical but we need the right policy frameworks in place. We look forward to working with government on the important detail in order to make this a reality.

Carl Ennis, CEO, Siemens GB & Ireland and Chairman, Net Zero North West:

The UK needs a mixed and dynamic energy policy to ensure secure and affordable energy and manage the transition to Net Zero. While the Strategy [today] provides greater certainty about the UK’s major generating priorities which will help to unlock investment and innovation, there remains much to do to drive up energy efficiency and leverage the benefits of local energy systems.