The PM defends his energy strategy in the face of rising living costs

Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomes the UAE Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (not in picture), ahead of a meeting in 10 Downing Street, London.

LONDON, (Parliament Politics Magazine) – Following criticism that the government’s new energy plan provides little to aid consumers struggling with skyrocketing costs, the PM has defended it.

Boris Johnson described it as a “long-term plan” centred on energy supply, adding that the government has previously implemented other steps to combat growing energy costs.

Plans to develop nuclear, wind, and hydrogen power are included in the strategy, which aims to increase the UK’s energy independence.

Labour, on the other hand, claimed that helping with mounting prices was “too little, too late.”

Experts also advocated for a greater focus on energy efficiency and insulation to assist reducing the costs.

Consumers are experiencing significant hikes in energy bills as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has driven up gas prices even further.

PM Johnson said the strategy aimed at tackling the mistakes of the past and ensuring that they were well-positioned for the future, when he spoke at the Hinkley Point C nuclear power facility.

He said the government was already doing a significant amount for helping people with the immediate cost of living, and certainly they were going to do more, citing programmes such as a £6 billion energy efficiency fund and assistance for heat pumps.

By 2030, up to 95 percent of the UK’s electricity might come from low-carbon sources, according to the new plans of the government.

Offshore wind is getting a lot of attention, with a new goal to produce up to 50 gigawatts (GW) of energy from it by 2030. Officials claim that this amount of energy would be sufficient to power every home in the United Kingdom.

According to the policy, the government hopes to “lead the world once more” in nuclear power, correcting “decades of underinvestment.”

Great British Nuclear, a new entity, will be established to boost the country’s nuclear capacity, with the goal of generating up to 24 GW of electricity from nuclear power by 2050, accounting for 25% of expected electricity consumption.

The government plans to build up to eight additional reactors on current locations, with one new reactor allowed each year until 2030.


The new energy strategy’s main points

  • Nuclear – The government aims to develop up to eight new nuclear reactors, with two at Sizewell in Suffolk, to lessen the UK’s reliance on oil and gas. The new plants’ delivery  will be overseen by a new authority.
  • Wind – The government wishes to modify the planning regulations for making it easier to get an approval on new offshore wind farms. It is looking to make partnerships with supportive towns that are willing to host turbines in exchange for guaranteed lower energy bills for onshore wind farms.
  • Hydrogen – Hydrogen production targets are being raised twofold with prediction of assisting the supply of cleaner energy for industry, transportation, power and potentially, heating.
  • Solar – The government is considering altering the requirements for installation of solar panels on houses and commercial buildings to help grow the capacity of solar power up fivefold by the year 2035.
  • Oil and gas – In the summer, a new licensing cycle for North Sea projects will be launched on the basis that producing gas in the UK has a smaller carbon impact than producing gas elsewhere.
  • Heat pumps – A £30 million “heat pump investment accelerator competition” will be held to develop British heat pumps that cut gas use.

The approach pledges to get consultation on forming partnerships with a restricted number of supportive communities that want to host wind turbines in exchange for guaranteed lower energy bills for onshore wind.

There would be no wholesale modifications to current onshore wind planning laws, according to the strategy.

Despite being one of the most cost-effective sources of electricity, new onshore wind projects have been on the decline since 2015, when the government halted subsidies and tightened planning procedures in response to concerns that wind turbines were noisy and ugly to see.

PM Johnson defended the decision not to prioritise onshore wind, claiming that the UK already has around 30GW of onshore wind power.

He went on to say that new sites would have a very difficult bar to clear.

Eleni Kyriakou

Eleni is a journalist and analyst at Parliament Magazine focusing on European News and current affairs. She worked as Press and Communication Office – Greek Embassy in Lisbon and Quattro Books Publications, Canada. She is Multilingual with a good grip of cultures, eye in detail, communicative, effective. She holds Master in degree from York University.