Climate minister insists UK energy security is strong and dismisses fears of winter blackouts

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Source: GB News

Climate minister Graham Stuart has insisted UK energy security is strong and said it is “unlikely” that the UK will experience power cuts this winter.

He said: “After Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, of course, there have been huge pressures on energy supply and prices around the world and we have taken steps to protect the consumer and protect businesses with our energy price guarantee for at home so that on the unit price of electricity or gas, families will see their bills reaching on average, no more than about £2,500.

“But we’re also looking at long term security as well. And today, the North Sea Transition Authority has announced nearly 900 blocks, with a view to perhaps 100 new licences being issued, so that more of the oil and gas which we will burn in a net zero scenario, going up to 2050 is produced here in the UK.

“That’s good news for a number of reasons. One, it’s obviously great for the jobs in the oil and gas industry. In the UK, too. It’s good for the economy, the oil and gas businesses are very highly taxed. And that’s good for the revenue coming into the exchequer.

“And three, it’s good for our energy security, it’s also good for the environment because oil and gas produced in the UK has much lower emissions around its production than does the stuff that we import from abroad.

“Replacing imports with UK produced oil and gas while nonetheless maintaining our legally obliged trajectory to net zero and 2050 is a win all round for the country, and I’m delighted to see this announcement today.”

In an interview during Breakfast with Stephen Dixon and Anne Diamond on GB News, he said: “When I was appointed to this job just a few weeks ago, I asked the boss, the Prime Minister, what my task was, she said to accelerate accelerate the expansion of offshore wind, in which of course, we lead the world, accelerate solar, accelerate a nuclear.

“On all these fronts, we’re looking to make sure that we’re less vulnerable in future to the global energy price that we’ve seen causing such difficulties to everybody everywhere.

“And it’s just fortunate that although we have a winter with more risk coming up than we’ve seen in previous years, we’ve actually got one of the most diverse and strong energy supply systems in Europe.

“That’s why the National Grid says it’s very unlikely that we’ll see the blackouts which are dominating front pages and news headlines this morning.”

Asked about the reported cancellation of a public information campaign about saving energy, he said: “We are always encouraged that people to be more energy efficient. We’ve got a £6 billion programme across this parliament, investing in energy efficiency, insulation and the like.

“The Chancellor just the other day in his fiscal statement, supported ECO Plus and these other programmes to do more on that front. So we’re always encouraging people to use energy more efficiently, helps lower bills, it’s good for the climate and the like.

“But in terms of the energy supply challenges for this winter actually, it’s more about the peak. And that’s why we’re working with Ofgem, we’ve supported them and are talking to big commercial gas users about a voluntary scheme where they may, you know, be paid in extremis to reduce their usage.

“And that will then reduce the strain on the system, create the flex and likewise look to make use of these smart metres which we’ve – I was looking at mine this morning, I’ve been pleased it hadn’t gone up more than I thought it might – and use that that kind of technology in people’s homes to allow people again, voluntarily to reduce their energy use at the peak.

“A more general campaign might make people think that not having a bath at two in the afternoon was going to help the country with its energy security.

“Given the nature of our system, that’s not really true but I would always encourage people to use energy as efficiently as possible. And I think everyone knows that right now given the prices.”

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