Along with the build-up of nuclear energy, Britain’s energy security strategy envisages by 2030 up to 50 GW of sea wind and 10 GW of hydrogen, half of which will be so-called green hydrogen.
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The UK government has revealed details of its long-awaited, “bold” energy security strategy, but critics ridicule its inclusion of fossil fuels and what they see as a lack of ambition.
In a release on Wednesday, the government announced a “significant acceleration of home-grown power in the UK’s plan for greater energy independence”.
The plans – known as Britain’s Energy Security Strategy – mean that the UK will produce more “cleaner” and “affordable” energy, the government said, as the country seeks to boost long-term energy independence, security and prosperity. “
The government is now targeting 24 gigawatts of nuclear energy by 2050, which he said will account for about a quarter of the country’s projected electricity demand. The strategy could involve the development of up to eight reactors.
Along with nuclear, the plans include by 2030 up to 50 GW of marine wind power and 10 GW of “low-carbon” hydrogen capacity, at least half of which will be so-called green hydrogen. The government also said solar capacity could be set to increase fivefold by 2035 from 14 GW today.
When it comes to onshore wind energy, a controversial issue for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, the government has said it will consult on “developing partnerships with a limited number of communities wishing to deploy new onshore wind infrastructure in exchange for guaranteed lower energy bills ”.
However, in a move that caused outrage among environmental campaign participants, the government also said its strategy would be to “support domestic oil and gas production in the near future” and scheduled a round of licensing of new oil and gas projects in the North Sea. to launch this fall. The government has argued that its strategy could lead to the fact that by 2030, 95% of the UK’s electricity will be “low carbon”.
“The simple truth is that the cheaper, cleaner electricity we produce within our borders, the less we will be exposed to fossil fuel prices that are set in world markets that we cannot control,” said Quasi Quarteng, secretary. on Business and Energy Affairs of the country. said.
“Increasing cheap renewable energy and new nuclear energy while maximizing production in the North Sea is the best and only way to ensure our energy independence in the coming years.”
The publication of the strategy comes at a time when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has heightened concerns about energy security. Russia is a major supplier of oil and gas, and its actions in Ukraine have forced a number of economies to try to find ways to reduce their dependence on it.
In response to the invasion, Britain said it would “stop importing Russian oil” by the end of this year, which accounts for 8% of total oil demand. Russia’s natural gas, according to the government, accounted for “less than 4%” of its supplies, adding that ministers “are considering options to further reduce this.”
While Quartheng’s business secretary was set on the strategy and its prospects, the plan sparked anger from some sides.
“It’s a failure as a strategy because it doesn’t do the most obvious things to reduce energy demand and protect households from rising prices,” said Danny Gross, a member of the Friends of the Earth energy campaign.
“Digging into the UK’s treasury of renewables is the surest way to meet our energy needs, not the fools’ gold fossil fuel.”
While accelerating the development of offshore wind developments was “welcome”, Gross said ministers should “go ahead and make the most of Britain’s vast wind resources on land”.
Meanwhile, Lisa Fisher, head of the E3G Climate Change think tank’s program, argued that the future of the North Sea lies in renewable energy, not oil and gas.
“A boost to the sea wind is welcome, but the simultaneous use of oil and gas will deter the UK’s leap towards an affordable and clean energy future,” she said.
“Moral and economic madness”
The British Energy Security Strategy was published the same week when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its latest report.
“Limiting global warming will require major transitions in the energy sector,” the IPCC said in a press release. “This will include a significant reduction in fossil fuel use, extensive electrification, energy efficiency improvements and the use of alternative fuels (such as hydrogen).”
Commenting on the report, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres did not strike. “Climate activists are sometimes portrayed as dangerous radicals,” he said. “But really dangerous radicals are countries that are increasing fossil fuel production.”
In March, the International Energy Agency reported that in 2021, energy-related carbon emissions rose to the highest level in history. The IEA found that global energy-related CO2 emissions grew by 6% in 2021 and reached a record high of 36.3 billion tonnes.
In the same month, Guterres also warned that the planet withdrew from last year’s COP26 summit in Glasgow with “a certain naive optimism” and “sleepwalked to the climate catastrophe.”