A 5-point plan to meet the UK's energy needs

The UK is in the midst of an energy crisis, yet the government's latest energy strategy just doesn't live up to the challenge. We have the solutions to ensure a cleaner, more affordable future for everyone, we just need government to act. Read Friends of the Earth's 5-point proposal to meet the UK's energy needs.
  Published:  23 Mar 2022    |      Last updated:  07 Apr 2022    |      2 minute read

Problems with the government's energy strategy

In response to the energy crisis, the UK government published its hotly-anticipated Energy Security Strategy on 7 April 2022. It could have set out a bold plan to secure affordable energy for everyone. But instead, it missed an open goal.

Insulation

Energy bills are soaring and people need help right now. The quickest way to reduce our bills is to insulate our notoriously energy inefficient homes, but the government failed to announce a proper plan to do this in its strategy.

If your bucket has a leak, you need to plug the hole, not just pour more water into it.

To reduce our consumption of expensive, climate-wrecking gas, we need to insulate our leaky homes. If the government doesn’t listen to the outcry and invest more money in insulation, people will be left freezing and out of pocket next winter.

Renewable energy

Renewable energy should have been the centrepiece of the energy security strategy, but instead the government was seduced by the fool’s gold of fossil fuels. It confirmed plans to issue new licences for North Sea oil and gas, which will lock us into expensive oil and gas for decades to come while fuelling even more climate breakdown.

The strategy does ramp up plans for more offshore wind generation, which is great. But the government neglected to lift the de facto ban on onshore wind. This is a massive missed opportunity, as wind turbines are fast to build, popular with the public and could provide cash-strapped households with huge quantities of affordable renewable power. What’s more, onshore wind energy is now 6 times cheaper than gas.

Fracking

The UK government also announced a scientific review into fracking, a process in which water, sand, and chemicals are injected underground at very high pressures to crack open rocks and release the gas trapped inside. But even the government and energy companies have admitted that fracking will do little to nothing to lower our energy bills.

Nuclear

The government also announced plans to build several new nuclear power plants. The power plants would take well over a decade to build, and they’re expensive, hazardous and produce waste that will remain highly radioactive for thousands of years.

Solutions to the energy crisis

We don’t need to wait decades to slash our energy bills. We already have the solutions to ensure everyone has access to clean, affordable energy.

1. Reject calls for new oil and gas extraction projects

Extracting more oil and gas will only fuel further climate breakdown. What's more, it fails to address immediate needs of energy security and soaring energy prices.

New oil and gas fields take on average 28 years to start producing. Our leaders must ditch the distractions and focus on real solutions that help people right now.

2. Rapidly increase renewable power infrastructure

Homegrown renewable energy is the cheapest form of energy, and onshore wind and solar farms are the fastest to build. Stop blocking building from happening.

3. Help homes get off gas

Everyone deserves access to affordable, clean energy. The government should fully fund low-carbon heating solutions for those unable to pay and remove caps on the number of available grants.

Doing so would help the 10 million homes ready for fitting heat pumps, and mean it isn’t just the wealthy who can benefit from the transition to a low-carbon future.

4. Prioritise and fund energy efficiency

With the nation struggling to pay its energy bills, improving energy efficiency is a no-brainer. The government should task and fund councils to roll out free street-by-street insulation programmes, starting with the neighbourhoods most in need.

5. Introduce a windfall tax on fossil fuel companies

Fossil fuel companies are enjoying record profits as our energy bills soar.

Let oil and gas companies foot the bill and help fund insulation and financial support for those having to choose between heating and eating.

Fossil fuel companies are planning to launch over 30 new projects in the UK.

Fossil fuel companies are planning to launch over 30 new projects in the UK.

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