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In the UK’s energy plan, the nation has been sold a dud

 Jim Watson, director, UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources: Britain was
promised a bold and visionary energy plan. But we’ve been sold a dud.
Does it deliver what it says on the tin?

The answer is straightforward. It fails. At the heart of most definitions of energy security is reliability
of supplies for households and businesses.  This is usually complemented by
a focus on affordability. 

The new strategy does very little to deal with the immediate impacts of high fossil fuel prices.
While the government has announced some help for households via loans and a
council tax reduction, this is simply not enough. The energy price cap has
already risen to almost £2,000 a year and a further rise is due in the

This comes on top of a wider cost of living crisis and high levels
of available, but the price is too high for businesses to
function or households to keep warm. While more money to help people pay
their bills is needed, this must be accompanied by action to prevent these
acute impacts in future. This means making homes more efficient and
switching away from fossil fuels for heating. It is nearly a decade since
effective policies for home energy efficiency were cancelled and replaced
with new approaches, such as the green deal, which have failed

As a result, the steady improvements in efficiency and
financial benefits to households have virtually stopped. A new programme of
home upgrades is urgently needed. This would not only reduce our dependence
on gas, but would also cut bills and carbon emissions.

According to many headlines, nuclear power is the “centrepiece” of the strategy. The
government’s plans are ambitious, but delivery will be difficult. New
nuclear plants will not have an impact for many years. The Treasury’s
fingerprints are visible in the careful caveats in the strategy, including
an insistence that new projects are “subject to a value for money and
relevant approvals”.

This reflects the long history of rising costs
within the nuclear sector, and the financial risks that consumers or
taxpayers will be exposed to.

In short, the government has pulled its
punches and avoided measures that would have a more immediate impact on
energy security – mainly by reducing the amount of energy we need to use.
Instead, it has produced a mixed bag of energy supply proposals. While some
are credible, a large nuclear power programme will require huge amounts of
political and financial capital. History suggests that this will be very
difficult to deliver.

 Guardian 9th April 2022


April 11, 2022 - Posted by | ENERGY, politics, UK

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