Nuclear, Offshore Wind Power Must for UK’s Energy Independence, says PM Boris Johnson

Highlights :

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson adds that expansion in domestic nuclear and offshore wind capacity is also important to bring down the cost of living in future.
  • The new energy security strategy may be announced by the end of this month.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the country’s new energy security strategy will be focused on the expansion of nuclear and offshore wind capacity. He said that nuclear power and wind power are necessary for the country’s energy independence and for bringing down the cost of living in future.

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The Russia – Ukraine armed conflict has led the western world, especially Europe, to expedite their renewable energy expansion quests as costly energy supplies from Russia and other regions look unbearable.  That it has taken the conflict to change a few minds on nuclear particularly is regrettable, as nuclear power does require thinking beyond short term or even medium term horizons to be understood and for planning. With plant construction times taking well over 8 years on average, and potential life of 50 years for new plants, goals for 2030 and beyond on emissions reduction need to plan for nuclear now, to make it worthwhile at all.

Johnson plans to set out a new energy security strategy by the end of this month after the Ukrainian war has sent the oil and gas prices to skies.

“We need to go big on nuclear in this country; we need to go much bigger on offshore wind. We can make sure that by investing in energy production, domestic energy production, independent energy production, we can have sustainable long-term suppliers that will bring down the costs for consumers over the long term,” said Boris Johnson.

Nuclear energy, which supplies 16% of the UK’s energy requirements till 2020, has faced the usual issues in the UK like in Germany, with Scotland declaring point blank that they would not allow any nuclear plants to come up there. Retirements of some older plants has only exacerbated the situation, with many activists clear that without nuclear, lower emissions goals are simply not feasible.

In 2015, PM David Cameron had brought a new law, which allowed wind energy farms to be set up only if they were a part of the local plans as well. The farms also require the approval of the residents. Now Boris Johnson wants to ease the situation for onshore wind farm developers to ramp up renewable capacity in the country.

There has been a drastic drop in onshore wind turbines’ installations after the 2015 reforms. According to the University of the West of England, the government received applications to develop 333 sites with about 1500 wind turbines in 2014 alone. In the last five years, the proposals were received only for 14 sites with a mere 23 turbines. The Cabinet has focused more on offshore wind power in recent years.

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