Up to 95 percent of the UK’s electricity supply will come from low-carbon sources following the announcement of the government’s long-awaited energy strategy.
In it, the government set out how the UK will accelerate the deployment of wind, new nuclear, solar and hydrogen while supporting the near-term production of domestic oil and gas.
The strategy will significantly accelerate nuclear power, with an ambition of up to 24 GW by 2050, which would represent a quarter of the expected electricity demand in the UK. Small modular reactors will be an important part of the nuclear project pipeline, pending technological readiness.
A new government body – Great British Nuclear – is coming up to push new projects forward. A £120m Future Nuclear Enabling Fund will also be launched aimed at providing targeted support to remove barriers to entry. According to the strategy, up to eight new nuclear reactors could be completed by the end of the decade.
“The new nuclear target of 24GW by 2050 is a crucial step forward for the UK’s energy security and our net-zero future. This investment will also create tens of thousands of jobs across the country. The ambition and determination to do much more and faster is very welcome,” said UK CEO Tom Greatrex Nuclear Industry Association†
He added: “As well as removing barriers to project start-ups, building investor confidence by ensuring nuclear energy is classified as green in the UK taxonomy and eligibility for green bonds are important next steps. to be.
“We also want the money from the promised Future Nuclear Enabling Fund to be accelerated, making good locations available for project development.”
Energy strategy in brief
- Offshore wind: a new ambition of up to 50 GW by 2030, with up to 5 GW of floating offshore wind in deeper seas. This will be supported by new planning reforms to shorten approval times for new offshore wind farms from four years to one year.
- Oil and Gas: A licensing round for new oil and gas projects in the North Sea, scheduled to launch in the fall, with a new task force providing tailored support for new developments.
- Onshore wind: The government will discuss developing partnerships with communities that support new onshore wind. Those communities are rewarded with guaranteed lower energy bills.
- Heat pump production: The government is organizing a competition to accelerate investment in heat pumps, worth up to £30 million, in 2022 to make UK heat pumps.
Further measures include increasing the UK’s current 14 GW of solar capacity, which could grow up to 5 times by 2035, and doubling low-carbon hydrogen production capacity to 10 GW by 2030.
The strategy was formulated in light of rising global energy prices, driven by rising demand after the pandemic, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In a statement, the government said fossil fuels are subject to volatile gas prices set by international markets that it cannot control. The new strategy is aimed at stimulating various sources of domestic energy for greater energy security in the long term.
“The simple truth is that the cheaper, cleaner power we generate within our borders, the less we will be exposed to delectable fossil fuel prices set by global markets beyond our control,” said Kwasi Kwarteng, Minister of Affairs and Energy. “Scaling up cheap renewables and new nuclear power, while maximizing North Sea production, is the best and only way to ensure our energy independence for years to come.”