The government's British Energy Security Strategy sets out how Great Britain will accelerate the deployment of wind, new nuclear, solar and hydrogen, whilst supporting the production of domestic oil and gas in the nearer term - which could see 95% of electricity by 2030 being low carbon.
The strategy will see a significant acceleration of nuclear, with an ambition of up to 24GW by 2050 to come from this safe, clean, and reliable source of power. This would represent up to around 25% of our projected electricity demand. Subject to technology readiness from industry, Small Modular Reactors will form a key part of the nuclear project pipeline.
A new government body, Great British Nuclear, will be set up immediately to bring forward new projects, backed by substantial funding, and we will launch the £120 million Future Nuclear Enabling Fund this month. We will work to progress a series of projects as soon as possible this decade, including Wylfa site in Anglesey. This could mean delivering up to eight reactors, equivalent to one reactor a year instead of one a decade, accelerating nuclear in Britain.
Further details of the strategy include:
- Offshore wind: A new ambition of up to 50GW by 2030 - more than enough to power every home in the UK - of which we would like to see up to 5GW from floating offshore wind in deeper seas. This will be underpinned by new planning reforms to cut the approval times for new offshore wind farms from 4 years to 1 year and an overall streamlining which will radically reduce the time it takes for new projects to reach construction stages while improving the environment.
- Oil and gas: A licensing round for new North Sea oil and gas projects planned to launch in Autumn, with a new taskforce providing bespoke support to new developments - recognising the importance of these fuels to the transition and to our energy security, and that producing gas in the UK has a lower carbon footprint than imported from abroad.
- Onshore wind: We will be consulting on developing partnerships with a limited number of supportive communities who wish to host new onshore wind infrastructure in return for guaranteed lower energy bills.
- Heat pump manufacturing: We will run a Heat Pump Investment Accelerator Competition in 2022 worth up to £30 million to make British heat pumps, which reduce demand for gas.
The Government will also look to increase the UK's current 14GW of solar capacity which could grow up to 5 times by 2035, consulting on the rules for solar projects, particularly on domestic and commercial rooftops.
Further to this, the aim is to double our ambition to up to 10GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030, with at least half coming from green hydrogen and utilising excess offshore wind power to bring down costs.
I welcome these measures which will not only provide cleaner energy for vital British industries to move away from expensive fossil fuels, but could also be used for cleaner power, transport and potentially heat. This will reduce our dependence on power sources exposed to volatile international prices we cannot control, so we can enjoy greater energy self-sufficiency with cheaper bills, as well as support thousands of jobs in the energy sector.