UK government publishes 'British Energy Security Strategy' - Thesaurus

UK government publishes ‘British Energy Security Strategy’ – Thesaurus

The UK Energy Security Strategy (the “Strategy”), published on 7 April 2022, aims to ensure that the UK has “a flow of energy that is affordable, clean and primarily safe.” Published against the backdrop of events in Ukraine, it provides little commentary on global politics or dependence on foreign energy sources, but instead focuses on reducing the UK’s dependence on fossil fuels, and thus exposure to the volatility of international energy prices.

The strategy sets long-term goals for offshore wind, solar, hydrogen, and nuclear power, but fails to address concerns about rapidly rising energy costs, the transition to zero, or short-term energy security. The strategy makes only minor changes to the UK government’s “Net Zero Strategy” published in October 2021. Some of the key points emerging are as follows:

offshore wind. The UK government intends to “leap Britain’s inexhaustible wind resources” with ambitions to produce up to 50 gigawatts of electricity from wind by 2030, including up to 5 gigawatts from floating wind farms. To achieve this, the government aims to halve the time required to set up wind farms by: (i) reducing the average approval time from four years to one year; (ii) review of environmental regulations and simplification of the habitat assessment process; and (3) the establishment of an accelerated approval pathway for priority cases in which quality standards are met.

Notably, the strategy is devoid of any meaningful commitments to onshore winds. There are no proposals to reform the planning rules that currently hamper the development of onshore wind farms. Failure to widely promote onshore wind is considered a missed opportunity as it is one of the cheapest forms of renewable energy.

Solar. The strategy outlines more support for solar energy, which it calls a “global abundant resource.” The government will consult on amending planning regulations to promote policy in favor of solar energy development on unprotected lands. Similarly, the government intends to radically simplify the planning process for rooftop solar by expanding permitted development rights, thus removing the need for custom approvals for each facility.

nuclear. Nuclear power is an essential feature of the strategy. The ambition is to triple nuclear production to 24 gigawatts by 2050, which is 25% of projected electricity demand. In addition to more government funding, a new body called “Great British Nuclear Energy” will be created and tasked with helping nuclear projects through the development process. The strategy emphasizes that the government will work with regulators to simplify the approval and licensing process. By 2030, as many as eight new nuclear reactors may be underway.

hydrogen. The government aims to double current low-carbon hydrogen production to 10 gigawatts by 2030, with at least half of it derived from electrolytic hydrogen (which does not require the use of natural gas). It will conduct annual allocation rounds for electrolytic hydrogen, transition to competitive price allocation by 2025, as well as design new business models for hydrogen transportation and storage infrastructure by 2025.

oil and gas. In addition to the renewable energy commitments, the strategy outlines plans for another licensing round of new oil and gas projects in the North Sea in the fall of 2022. The government remains “open” about onshore reserves (i.e. hydraulic fracturing). Whether or not this could jeopardize the UK’s compliance with its zero net targets, however, and thus lead to legal challenges, remains to be seen.

The strategy aims to secure a clean and green energy supply that is “Made in Britain, for Britain”. However, as the Climate Change Committee comments, for these plans to materialize, “government, businesses and industry will need to focus relentlessly on delivery at a scale and speed not seen yet.”

#government #publishes #British #Energy #Security #Strategy #Thesaurus

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.