Major acceleration of homegrown power to drive Britain’s energy independence

Habitat Energy

Cleaner and more affordable energy will be generated  in Great Britain if government plans published today to boost long-term energy independence and security get the go-ahead.

The government has published its British Energy Security Strategy setting 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 per cent 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 – representing up to around 25 per cent of the country’s 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, is to be set up immediately to bring forward new projects, backed by substantial funding, and the government will launch the £120 million Future Nuclear Enabling Fund this month.

It plans 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.

The government’s 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 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 support to new developments – recognising the importance of these fuels to the transition and to the UK’s energy security, and that producing gas in the UK has a lower carbon footprint than imported from abroad.
  • Onshore wind: The government says it 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: It will run a Heat Pump Investment Accelerator Competition this year worth up to £30 million to make British heat pumps, which reduce demand for gas.

The government also hopes to increase the UK’s current 14GW of solar capacity which could grow up to five times by 2035.

It is aiming to double its 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.

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.”

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  previous expectations; and 12,000 jobs in the UK hydrogen industry by 2030 – 3,000 more than previously expected, the government said.

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.”

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