Policy Spotlight with Rhouda: Announcement of new 2022 Energy Strategy

Last week, the government announced a new 2022 Energy Strategy aiming to accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources such as new nuclear, hydrogen and wind power which will help to secure stable and affordable British energy in the long term.

Within the strategy, the government have prioritised the development of nuclear power, promising to deliver up to eight reactors by 2030. Additionally, planning reforms will be implemented in a bid to accelerate the approval for new offshore windfarms, and hydrogen production will be doubled, aiming to provide low-carbon energy for industry, power and transport.

As all UK Covid restrictions were removed earlier in the year and the global economy reopened, there was a huge surge in demand for everything from new cars to international holidays, which as a result drove the spike in demand for oil and gas, leading to the dramatic increase in the price of fuel. This was also accompanied by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and as the price for gas is set internationally, Putin’s restrictions on the supply of Russia’s gas to the European market has pushed prices up further.

The increase in the cost of fuel has meant that the cost of living in the UK has also increased, putting many families and businesses under a lot of financial pressure, especially as gas is used to generate electricity as well as heat the majority of UK homes.

The government’s energy strategy is a step in the right direction towards helping businesses and households reach the net-zero targets, however the ten-point delivery plan is heavily focused on the future of renewable energy sources in the UK and does little to help businesses with the current record-high energy prices.

Whilst we welcome Boris Johnson’s statement regarding ‘reducing our exposure to volatile fossil fuel markets’, the strategy is a missed opportunity to announce support for businesses to help them overcome the soaring prices, such as introducing a temporary SME Price Cap or an expansion on the energy bills rebate scheme to include SMEs.

Sara Williams, CEO of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, said: “The long-awaited strategy has outlined some key areas that when implemented will change the future of British energy. The investment in eight new reactors alongside the increased investment in offshore wind, solar and hydrogen are crucial in order to enhance energy security and meet net-zero targets. However, it is important to note that this strategy is heavily focused on supply and is a long-term plan, which means that the current issues being faced by firms and households will remain.

“The strategy fails to mention energy efficiency and insulation, both of which will provide immediate cost reductions when installed. We would have welcomed further encouragement of the delivery of the cheapest forms of renewable energy in order to help us support businesses in the net-zero journey. It is now essential that the government continue to provide a clear plan and provide funding in order to increase the momentum on the drive to net zero.”

You can visit our Environmentally Conscious Staffordshire Campaign page for more information on what you can do to reduce carbon emissions and increase your business efficiency here: https://staffordshirechambers.co.uk/environmentally-conscious-staffordshire/

You must be logged in to post a comment.