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UK plans to boost domestic energy security with focus on low-carbon tech

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The government is introducing new measures in the energy sector designed to improve the UK’s energy security and provide a boost to green technologies.

The package will include extra support for the deployment of low-carbon technologies at scale such as carbon capture, usage and storage, and hydrogen.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said the plan would allow Britain to secure a ‘first mover advantage’ in capturing some of the global market share for these technologies and could help prop up the UK’s flagging economy.

The Energy Security Bill also includes measures to further the deployment of heat networks and drive down the cost of electric heat pumps. Heat network consumers typically pay a lower price for their heat than those on an individual gas boiler, while replacing a gas boiler with a heat pump can reduce a home’s energy use by well over 50 per cent.

Ofgem will also be appointed to oversee regulation of the heat networks market – currently around 480,000 British consumers – to ensure fair prices are charged, including by enabling the regulator to investigate disproportionate prices and take enforcement action.

Consumers will be protected from increasing network prices in the event of energy network company mergers by enabling the Competition and Markets Authority to review relevant mergers. BEIS said this could save consumers up to £420m over 10 years.

The Bill will also introduce measures to “prevent fuel supply disruption” which includes forcefully ending industrial action in order to prevent potential disruption to the downstream oil sector.

Business and energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “To ensure we are no longer held hostage by rogue states and volatile markets, we must accelerate plans to build a truly clean, affordable, home-grown energy system in Britain.

“This is the biggest reform of our energy system in a decade. We’re going to slash red tape, get investment into the UK, and grab as much global market share as possible in new technologies to make this plan a reality.

“The measures in the Energy Security Bill will allow us to stand on our own two feet again, reindustrialise our economy and protect the British people from eye-watering fossil fuel prices into the future.”

Chief executive of National Grid, John Pettigrew, said: “National Grid plays a vital role at the heart of the energy transition and we look forward to continuing to work together with government to realise its bold net-zero goals including delivering 50GW of offshore wind power by 2030 and establishing an independent system operator and planner.”

Greenpeace UK’s head of politics, Rebecca Newsom, said: “This Energy Bill had the opportunity to deliver on the government’s goal of 95 per cent decarbonised electricity by 2030, delivering the necessary laws to upgrade the grid and meet our domestic and international obligations.

“Instead, despite a few positive sprinklings of support for solutions like heat pumps to clean up how we warm our homes, the most pressing reforms have not been delivered.

“The government should be delivering vital measures needed to promote a renewable-centred energy system, like introducing a net-zero duty for our energy regulator. Yet, Kwasi Kwarteng appears to be more interested in making another backdoor attempt to clamp down on brave protestors pushing for a transition away from fossil fuels, and failing to account for the real emissions impact of oil and gas extraction and use.

"Ministers should bring forward urgent amendments to salvage this bill and avoid fundamentally undermining the UK’s ability to meet our climate commitments.”

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