Greater energy independence requires more focus on energy efficiency


Reacting to the publication of the British Energy Security Strategy, Ana Musat, Head of Policy at Aldersgate Group said: “Accelerating the decarbonisation of the UK’s power sector, electrifying more sectors of the economy and driving greater energy efficiency all have an essential role to play in improving the UK’s energy security. With this in mind, we welcome the ambition in today’s British Energy Security Strategy to provide 95% of electricity from low carbon sources by 2030, the boosted targets for technologies such as offshore wind and solar power and the increased ambition in low carbon and green hydrogen. The stronger focus on delivery – including on transmission connections for offshore wind projects – is very welcome. However, the Government’s ambitions in low-cost onshore wind could be much bolder and it is disappointing to see so little focus on new regulatory measures and incentives to drive more investment in energy efficiency. Reducing energy demand is an essential part of lowering energy bills for households and businesses and making our economy more resilient to price shocks.”

Ana Musat added: “It is however encouraging to see an emphasis on planning reforms aimed at bringing shovel-ready renewable projects online much faster, by simplifying the process for obtaining transmission grid connections and streamlining the consenting regime. Currently, transmission connections and grid reinforcement projects can take on average between 6-8 years from formulation to consent, with costs between £15- £50m per project [1]. This clearly needs to be reduced to maximise the full potential of the UK’s offshore wind sector and its capacity to deliver clean, cheap power.”

Ana Musat concluded: “Whilst unprecedented short-term energy security concerns mean measures like improving gas storage capacity and optimising production from existing fields in the North Sea are necessary, accelerating the transition to net zero emissions will be the most effective way to improve the UK’s energy security and economic resilience in the medium and long term. It is therefore crucial that the Government’s policy capacity remains focused on this in the years ahead and that the rapid implementation of the Net Zero Strategy is a cross-government priority.”

[1] Quod Consulting (March 2021) – National Grid: Planning for 40GW by 2030 – how to meet the challenge