Labour has called the UK’s plans for Energie independence “ludicrous” and claimed they will “do nothing” to help the cost-of-living or climate crisis.
The government is being criticised for failing to reduce demand and instead focusing more on long-term energy projects, such as more fossil fuel drilling at the North Sea.
“This relaunch won’t cut bills, won’t deliver energy independence, and won’t tackle the climate crisis,” Ed Milliband, the shadow secretary for climate change, told The Independent .
The full details of the new energy security plan will be revealed today. It comes as rising international gasoline prices cause household bills to soar in the UK. The country is also moving away from Russian oil due to the Invasion in Ukraine.
Kwasi Kwarteng, the UK business secretary, admitted it would do little to alleviate soaring fuels bills now, saying the strategy was more a “three-, four- or five-year answer” .
‘Putin will be happy’: Government’s energy plan will keep UK hooked on fossil fuels, experts warn
The prime minister was accused of having “completely caved to his own backbenchers” after the government abandoned plans for a major expansion of onshore wind farms and ignored calls to focus on energy efficiency to cut wastage and reduce costs.
Ministers have laid out the strategy Wednesday night. It is due to be fully launched on Thursday. Harry Cockburn.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 April 2022 at 13:05
Government has ‘fundamentally misunderstood the immediate climate challenge’
Luke Fletcher, director at Pollination said the government has “fundamentally misunderstood the immediate climate challenge” by focussing on solutions that take years to implement and even longer to have an impact.
“The government needs to refocus on options that can be deployed now,” he said. “The strategy fails to detail demand-side opportunities, including energy efficiency and home insulation measures.
“There is clear public support for more renewable power to help guarantee the UK’s energy security, but more guidance will be needed on exactly what this will look like.”
Mr Fletcher added that onshore wind is missing from the strategy, which he called a “major absence” citing recent research from the European Climate Foundation which found that almost 70% of people in the UK would support new onshore wind projects near where they live.
He said: “Delaying the implementation of onshore wind solutions is another nail in the coffin of the climate crisis and the lack of urgency demonstrated simply highlights a lack of understanding of the challenges and risks we face.”
Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 April 2022 12.00
What will the energy security strategy look like?
Many reactions have been received to the energy security plan. Here’s a reminder of the essence of it all:
- A licensing round for North Sea oil and natural gas projects is scheduled to launch in Autumn
- UK heat pump production to be boosted by investment
We still have to wait for the full strategy. But Rob MerrickHere’s a preview of what to expect:
Zoe Tidman7 April 2022, 12:45
Boris Johnsons says nuclear energy is ‘reliable and safe’
The Prime Minister took to Twitter to reassure the public that nuclear energy is a “reliable, safe and constant source of clean energy”.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 April 2022 12 :34
However, members of the energy sector have praised the government.
Examples of government press releases include:
Sam Laidlaw from Neptune Energy: “The Energy Security Strategy breathes new life into the North Sea, giving investors confidence to allocate significant capital to the diverse range of energy supply we will need through the energy transition.”
Clare Jackson from Hydrogen UK: “We are thrilled the government has doubled down on hydrogen by increasing the production target to 10GW, recognising that hydrogen is a key part of the net zero transition.”
Ben van Beurden, the chief executive of Shell: “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure an orderly transition to net zero while bolstering the UK’s energy security and Shell is ready to play our part.
Zoe Tidman7 April 2022 12 :17
The government is tackling fossil fuel drilling but not doing more for energy efficiency
The government is promising to boost “clean energy” with the plans.
Climate academics, however, point out that their green credentials have been undermined by two key points: a failure to take stronger action on energy efficiency and increased fossil fuel drilling in North Sea.
Professor Patrick Devine-Wright from the University of Exeter says: “The information released so far focusses on supply and largely ignores the importance of reducing demand for energy.”
“If demand is neglected in the new strategy, this is a vital omission that could put the UK government at odds with the IPCC,” the lead author of the landmark International Panel for Climate Change report released on Monday said.
He added: “The evidence suggests that we could reduce global emissions by 40 to 70 per cent by 2050 via demand-side actions – and there are certainly huge opportunities to cut energy demand in the UK.”
Professor Michael Grubb, a professor of energy and climate change at University College London, said: “In the aftermath of the IPCC reports on climate change, it is – rightly – a tough sell trying to tell the world that we need to move away from fossil fuels, whilst aiming to squeeze out every drop from the North Sea.”
Zoe Tidman7 April 2022 12 :09
Labour says that plans won’t help with climate crisis or bills.
Ed Milliband is the shadow secretary for Climate Change. The Independent:
“Boris Johnson has completely caved to his own backbenchers and now, ludicrously, his own energy strategy has failed on the sprint we needed on onshore wind and solar- the cheapest, cleanest forms of homegrown power.
“After 12 years in government, families are paying the price of Conservative failure. This relaunch won’t cut bills, won’t deliver energy independence, and won’t tackle the climate crisis. Labour would lead the green energy revolution. This government just cannot deliver.”
Zoe Tidman7 April 2022, 12:03
Criticism from green organizations
Despite the fact that it promises to boost clean energy, environmental groups are scathing about the plan.
Tessa Khan from Uplift, which campaigns against fossil fuels, says it is “a betrayal of the millions of families across the UK who are being pushed to the brink by spiking energy bills caused by our reliance on gas”.
“Instead of supporting them with a drive to insulate homes and boost our access to cheap, clean renewable energy, the government has sided with oil and gas companies, who offer no solutions to our energy affordability crisis,” she says.
Meanwhile Danny Gross from Friends of the Earth says: “The astonishing lack of action on energy efficiency will leave people freezing, desperate and out of pocket next winter.
“This fails as a strategy, as it does not do the most obvious things that would reduce energy demand and protect households from price hikes.”
Zoe Tidman7 April 2022 11 :53
The insulation question
One of the main criticisms of the plans is the failure to place emphasis on energy efficiency.
Insulation has been promoted as a key method to tackle both the climate crisis, and to reduce dependency on Russian fossilfuels. It does this by cutting down on energy consumption.
Recent analysis found upgrading Britain’s housing stock would even allow the country to sever ties with Russian gas quicker than more domestic fossil fuel drilling would.
Harry CockburnOur environment correspondent, Jeremy, reported the following:
Zoe Tidman7 April 2022 at 11:45
The chair of the business, energy and industrial strategy committee says the stratey is “yet another missed opportunity” to help bill payers.
Labour MP Darren Jones called it “a failure to announce funding for the home insulation works required to reduce the amount of heating needed in the first place”.
Zoe Tidman7 April 2022, 11:31