We need diversity in our energy supply and transport – Anne Marie Morris



How do we cope with rising energy costs and ensure the sustainability of supply for ourselves and future generations without destroying the planet? The government recently published its energy security strategy to address the issue of energy supply.

This is not about current energy costs, but in the longer term, if we can be more resilient domestically and less dependent on international energy markets and prices, the more control we will have over end-consumer prices. . Inevitably, there were compromises in these proposals. While ultimately we want to reduce our dependence on carbon-based energy, we cannot do it overnight.

Finally, it is an attempt to put in place a transition plan that will take us from where we are now, to a more sustainable, and in the longer term greener, domestic producer of most of our energy.

A key element of the strategy is a renewed drive to increase nuclear energy. It will be about using the new nuclear technology in which we are already a world leader – nuclear fusion – rather than nuclear fission – which is inherently a lower-risk technology. It will also spur the development of smaller nuclear power plants that are cheaper, faster to build and commission.

The government plans to set up a new body, Great British Nuclear, to come up with new projects backed by the £120m Future Nuclear Enabling Fund. The government has said this new direction could deliver one nuclear reactor per year, rather than one per decade as we have seen previously.

The Strategy also aims to increase our production of green energy which has proven its worth during this energy crisis. The government has ambitions to generate up to 50GW by 2030 from wind power, which would produce more than enough energy to power every home in the UK. Up to 5 GW of this energy will come from offshore wind floating in deeper seas, underpinned by new planning reforms.

The government will also consult on developing partnerships with a limited number of supporting communities that wish to host new onshore wind infrastructure in return for guaranteed reduced energy bills. But the focus is on offshore production. Personally, I would have liked to see more interest in tidal barrage systems. Plans to increase the UK’s current 14GW solar capacity up to 5 times by 2035 will involve rethinking the rules for solar projects, making it easier to install on homes and businesses, which the government acknowledges.

The government has pledged to produce up to 10GW of low-carbon hydrogen by 2030, at least half of which would come from green hydrogen and use excess offshore wind power to cut costs . This could provide cleaner energy to UK industries and be used for electricity, transport and heat. Hydrogen has been on and off the new energy agenda. I think it should definitely be there as an alternative to natural gas heating in our homes.

I am far from convinced that delivering all electricity as electricity through the national grid makes sense. We need diversity both in our energy supply and in our transport. Putting all our “eggs” in the National Grid basket seems high risk to me. Likewise, I’d like to see carbon-based oil heating replaced by new vegetable oil-based products – if it’s good enough to fly an airplane, it must be good enough to heat our homes.

A licensing round for new oil and gas projects in the North Sea is expected to kick off this fall. The strategy recognizes the importance of these fuels for the transition to greener energy and for our energy security, and that producing gas in the UK has a lower carbon footprint than importing it from overseas. Oil and gas production technology has come a long way – the end product, while not carbon-free, is cleaner and greener.

A good plan – now you have to see its delivery. If you would like to book a surgery appointment or raise a specific concern, please call my office on 01626 368277 or email annemarie.morris.mp@parliament.uk.


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