UK unveils long awaited energy strategy aimed at building self sufficiency

Up to 95% of the UK’s electricity could come from low carbon sources by 2030 under a new national energy strategy which aims to boost its energy independence and tackle sky high consumer prices.

In the strategy announced today, the UK Government pledges to accelerate investments in offshore wind, solar, hydrogen and nuclear energy. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed up gas prices, exacerbating an impending energy cost crisis in the UK, after the removal of an energy price cap this month.

A key area of the strategy is offshore wind, with the government hoping to produce up to 50GW of energy through offshore wind facilities by 2030. This would be more than enough to power every UK home, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The UK is already a global leader in offshore wind power production.

The UK also plans to reduce its reliance on oil and gas by building as many as eight new nuclear power stations, plus two new reactors in the Southeast of the country. A new body called Great British Nuclear will be launched to boost the UK’s nuclear capacity to 24GW – 25% of the projected electricity demand – by 2050.

Tom Greatrex, CEO of the Nuclear Industry Association, said the plans marked a ‘vital step forward’ for the UK to meet its climate goals, and could create thousands of jobs. However, partner at Sandstone Law Richard Smith said: “They [nuclear plants] take decades to build and remain controversial, with enormous risk issues.”

Former Ofgem boss Dermot Nolan also criticised the strategy: “Most of these decisions will take a long time to have an impact and in the short run we will continue to be dependent on fossil fuels.” He described the lack of focus on energy efficiency, insulation and improving the quality of people’s homes as ‘an opportunity missed’.