Today (7 April) the UK Government has published its Energy Security Strategy, which outlines a roadmap to secure Britain’s energy security and minimise its dependence on energy imports following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The strategy includes plans to increase offshore wind and nuclear power generation and speed up hydrogen deployment. While it acknowledges the need to move away from fossil fuels, the strategy outlines plans to produce domestic oil and gas in the nearer term and has not increased the role of cheaper renewables, such as onshore wind and solar, as much as it could.
There is also a limited focus on reducing demand for gas in homes through energy efficiency and the electrification of heat to help households with rising energy bills.
Stew Horne, head of policy at Energy Saving Trust, said: “Just this week, the IPCC detailed the urgent need for a global transition to a low carbon economy to avoid catastrophic climate damage. Although today’s Energy Security Strategy gives a welcome boost to offshore wind and solar generation, it does not go far enough to tackle the acute issues that we are seeing today.
“There are two key areas that are missing from the strategy that would still allow the UK to move quickly to improve energy security and lower bills both now and in the longer term:
“Firstly, improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s largely inefficient housing stock should be a higher priority. A long-term home energy efficiency programme supported by a new, comprehensive national impartial service providing tailored advice to households, would minimise soaring energy costs, reduce our reliance on a volatile fossil fuel market and cut carbon emissions.
“Secondly, rather than waiting for new nuclear power that will take years to establish, a better option would be to invest more in the electrification of heat. A clear solution is to accelerate the installation of low carbon heating solutions, such as heat pumps, that are available now. Combined with energy efficiency measures, it would take effect now and be a long-term solution to significantly cut our demand for gas to heat our homes.
“What we needed to see from government today was more support for energy efficiency and electrification that would lower bills, increase energy security, and help decarbonise our economy now. Instead, investing in fossil fuels is a backwards step that will further delay the transition to cleaner, cheaper energy and put meeting our net zero carbon targets at risk.”
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