31 July 2023
Published in April 2022, the Energy Security Strategy (ESS) sought to roadmap the UK’s path to a more secure, stable and predictable energy future. As the first of its kind in a decade, the strategy was unveiled to high industry expectations, yet was met with scrutiny. Industry experts responded to the plans with mixed reactions; some groups praised the targets, while others stated the plans did not provide enough support for households and businesses right now.
Following this, the Government then revised the strategy in March 2023 with new pledges designed to speed up the development of green hydrogen, nuclear and storage projects.
Here, we’re outlining what the UK’s Energy Security Strategy looks like in 2023, and how it could help businesses in the future if it outlasts the energy crisis and the UK’s next general election.
The Energy Security Strategy is a proposal intending to speed up the UK’s efforts towards a low-carbon, energy-independent future. In other words, it aims to expand the number of sources of home-grown, low-carbon energy in the UK over the next 20 years.
The strategy appeared in response to a range of energy-related concerns, chiefly the security, affordability and sustainability of the UK’s energy supply. These concerns have, of course, since been exacerbated by a range of global and national issues, including:
To address the above issues and speed up the UK’s energy independence, the ESS puts forward several key policies, including:
In addition, the 30 March 2023 saw the publication of a new Energy Security Plan - also called 'Powering Up Britain' - which builds upon the plans of the ESS, as follows:
While its intentions focused on long term ambitions, the Energy Security Strategy came under fire somewhat for its perceived lack of measures that might have delivered short-term wins for businesses. Energy efficiency improvements, which a lot of campaigners noted as having the greatest potential for short-term benefits, were absent.
So, what positives can businesses take away from the Energy Security Strategy?
For one, measures to promote greater clean energy are sure to be welcomed. Top line takeaways from the strategy that businesses should take note of include:
There’s good news for energy-intensive industries, as the strategy intends to double the production of low-carbon hydrogen by up to 10GW by 2030, with at least half of this amount coming from green hydrogen.
Since much has been made of hydrogen as a key fuel to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels in many of the more energy-intensive industries, the announcement could well be a beneficial long-term solution.
The installation of solar is increasingly a way for businesses to generate their own renewable energy. It’s encouraging, then, that the strategy notes it will “radically simplify planning processes with a consultation on relevant permitted development rights and will consider the best way to make use of public sector rooftops”.
Since the Energy Security Strategy was published in April 2022, much has changed for businesses and domestic energy users alike. The cost of energy has led to a notable shift in priorities for many, with businesses placing sustainability on the back burner to focus on continuity and cash flow management.
Only time will tell how successful the proposed Energy Security Strategy will be and in the meantime, the attention of businesses may be elsewhere. With that said though, the industry will continue to keep a watchful eye on how the UK Government delivers its Energy Security Strategy to ensure its ambitious commitments can be met.
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