Up to eight more nuclear reactors could be approved for construction under a new UK energy strategy that Boris Johnson said will address “past mistakes”.
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Launching the plan at Hinkley Point C, a nuclear power station being built in Somerset, the Prime Minister said his “bold plans” would put nuclear power at the center of Britain’s energy supply and prevent the country from becoming “blackmailable” to Vladimir Putin.
The strategy aims to “bolster Britain’s energy independence and fight rising prices”. BBC reported. However, experts have responded by calling for “a greater focus on energy efficiency and improving home insulation”.
What is planned?
As well as paving the way for more nuclear power plants, Johnson’s plan “aims to increase wind, hydrogen and solar production,” the BBC said.
The most important measures include:
- plans to build eight new nuclear reactorsincluding two in Suffolk.
- Reform planning laws to speed up offshore wind farm approvals in exchange for cheaper electricity bills for areas with onshore turbines.
- Doubling hydrogen production targets to help deliver clean energy.
- easing rules for Installation of solar panels on houses and commercial buildings to increase capacity by up to five times by 2035.
- A new licensing round for oil and gas projects in the North Sea is due to start this summer.
- support for Production of heat pumps in an effort to reduce demand for gas.
“A Missed Opportunity”
Expectations of the government’s new energy strategy were raised by the Cost of Living Crisis and rising energy bills as a Consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But environmentalists and some experts have met with “disbelief and anger” at some of the measures, BBC environmental analyst Roger Harrabin said.
Critics “can’t believe the government hasn’t offered new measures to save energy by insulating buildings,” he added, arguing that “energy efficiency would cut bills and emissions immediately and is the cheapest way to improve energy security”.
A Downing Street source told Harrabin the announcement had turned into an “energy supply strategy” in the face of Putin Threatening to stop Russian gas supplies.
Damien Carrington, The Guardians Environment Editor, said Johnson’s plan for the future was a “hugely missed opportunity” by making “big bets on nuclear power, hydrogen, oil and gas and neglecting energy conservation measures.”
Paul Waugh, chief political commentator for news site i, tweeted that the Prime Minister “bottled it up” by dropping earlier plans to drastically increase both wind and solar power onshore.
But Tom Greatrex, boss of the Nuclear Industry Associationhailed the plans as “a crucial step forward” for the UK to meet its climate targets, adding that the strategy could create thousands of jobs.
The Confederation of British Industry also said the strategy “sets an ambitious benchmark for a more resilient, low-carbon energy system for the future”, while warning that businesses now need help paying their energy bills. Sky news reported.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/uk-news/956360/boris-johnson-energy-strategy-explained Boris Johnson’s energy strategy explained