Britain is better positioned than the EU countries that imported 40% of their gas from Russia earlier this year. In contrast, we only import 8% of our oil from Russia and 5% of our gas
Image: NurPhoto/PA Image)
The war in Ukraine has shown the fragility of the UK’s energy supplies.
Oil and gas prices have skyrocketed due to the invasion and the ensuing Russian import embargo.
The UK is better positioned than the EU countries which import 40% of their gas from Russia at the beginning of this year.
In contrast, we only import 8% of our oil from Russia and 5% of our gas.
But we cannot avoid rising global prices as we scramble to find alternative markets.
Boris Johnson promised to lay out a new energy strategy this week but that has now been pushed back as ministers try to close the gap on new oil and gas supplies with zero promises.
What can the UK do to lower prices for consumers, secure energy supplies and meet its green commitments?
Oil and Gas
Tomorrow, the Prime Minister will visit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to urge them to increase oil production. This will help reduce global wholesale prices.
The move to Saudi Arabia is controversial because of the country’s human rights record.
Whitehall sources have rejected an immediate deal with Saudi Arabia, suggesting it could take more than a year to reach an agreement.
Meanwhile, the UK is looking to issue a new license for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea. This has been criticized as going against the Government’s commitment to cut carbon emissions from North Sea oil and gas by 50% by 2030.
The chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, Lord Deben, said new drilling in the North Sea would only have a “side effect” of helping consumers with high prices.
In 2020, Boris Johnson said he wanted 100% of the UK’s energy to come from renewables by 2035.
MPs have recently warned that the target is unlikely to be achieved and is now in further doubt if the government turns to fossil fuels to fill the gap in energy supply.
Labor argues that the government has been too slow to invest in solar, tidal and wind power.
It said there are 649 onshore wind farms and solar projects that have been authorized but have yet to be developed.
Stuart Vance / ReachPlc)
Britain gets only 16% of its energy from nuclear, compared with 71% it gets in France. The Government’s 2020 Energy White Paper has identified nuclear as a key way to reduce emissions and fill the gap from renewable energy.
But only one new nuclear power plant, Hinkley Point, left, is under construction – the first in 30 years. Ministers have named seven possible new nuclear power plants at Oldbury, Sellafield, Sizewell, Wylfa, Bradwell, Hartlepool and Heysham but no plant has yet to begin construction due to disagreements over funding.
The government can also accelerate the development of small nuclear power plants. Rolls-Royce has announced plans to build 16 “mini” nuclear reactors that could provide enough electricity for a city the size of Sheffield. It hopes these can be streamed by the end of the decade.
Under pressure from the Tory authority, the Government agreed to review the jailbreak ban.
Fracking was banned in the UK in 2019 over fears it could cause earthquakes and tremors.
Boris Johnson has said that it makes no sense to seal off shale gas wells.
However, experts have warned that it could take 10 years for the wells to start producing gas commercially.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng admitted that fracking would not change wholesale market prices and therefore would not do much in the short term to help consumers.
One of the most effective ways to reduce heating bills is to properly insulate your home.
Labour’s Ed Miliband said upgrading 19 million UK homes without insulation would cut energy bills by an average of £400 a year and reduce our gas imports by 15%.
But Tories below David Cameron cuts subsidies for loft and compartment wall insulation and relaxes regulations on new constructions.
Since 2016, more than a million homes have been built with poor energy standards – adding £2.5 billion to the energy bill.
Johnson’s £1.5 billion green house scheme offering grants to households aimed at low-carbon insulation and heating has been phased out by 2021 after just 10 insulation % against the target of 600,000 homes.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/alternatives-britain-cheap-ethical-green-26477393 All UK alternatives must get green, cheap and ethical energy in the context of the Ukraine war