Sparks fly over energy strategy

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Rishi Sunak, the UK chancellor from February 2020 to July 2022. 

Energy strategy fails to 'deliver the decisive step forward we need'.

This pot of reheated announcements does not deliver the decisive step forward we need.

A multimillion-pound package has been announced to help support the “bold plans” of the UK Government’s new energy strategy.

Kwasi Kwarteng, the business and energy secretary,  said the £375 million investment will “unlock the enormous potential” of hydrogen and nuclear power.

But Ed Miliband, Labour’s shadow climate change and net zero secretary, said: “The UK can be a world leader in green technologies like hydrogen, but only if we have a government that will back our great British businesses with the investment at scale seen by other governments around the world."


The Labour party criticised the energy strategy as “not enough” and “too little, too late” to help families with rising costs and today branded the the financial support package as a “pot of reheated announcements” which “does not deliver the decisive step forward we need”.

The financial package, announced on Friday, includes £240 million to fund low carbon hydrogen production projects, £5 million towards the acceleration of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCUS) Technologies, and a £2.5 million competition for bidders to develop a UK Advanced Modular Reactor (AMR).

It comes a day after Boris Johnson, the prime minister, sought to defend the new energy strategy in the face of criticism it does nothing to help people with soaring bills now.

He said the strategy – which sets out aims to boost new nuclear power, offshore wind and hydrogen – is a long-term plan focusing on energy supply, “undoing the mistakes of the past and taking the big decisions now”.

The announced investment will support research, development and deployment of “cutting-edge technologies”, the government said, adding that it was also publishing a “range of important documents and guidelines to support the development of these industries”.

Meanwhile, the i newspaper reported that chancellor Rishi Sunak had vetoed a plan for extra help for households with rising energy bills. The paper said a leaked document showed that he had refused to increase the £200 energy rebate to £500 or more.


A spokesperson for the Treasury did not deny the report, and said they “understand that people are struggling with the rising cost of living, that’s why our immediate priority has been to put billions of pounds back into the pockets of hard-working families across the UK”.

The energy strategy was published on Thursday as western countries wrestle with high energy prices and consider how to reduce reliance on Russian oil and gas, amid wider calls to end the fossil fuel era to tackle dangerous climate change.

A fleet of new nuclear power plants is at the heart of the strategy, with Johnson claiming “nuclear is coming home” and suggesting a new reactor will be built every year, in a social media video to promote the plan.

As part of an aim to make 95 percent of electricity low carbon by 2030, the strategy has a goal to produce up to 50GW of offshore wind energy by 2030, which officials said would be more than enough to power every home in the UK.

The strategy also includes an aim to double the goal of 10GW of low-carbon hydrogen production by 2030, with at least half from “green” hydrogen, produced from renewable electricity rather than natural gas.

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Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist. This article is based on copy provided by PA.

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