UK and US Energ Secretaries meet as Shapps pledges greater energy independence for the UK

UK and US hail commitment to delivering energy independence for Britain

Image credit: GOV.UK

The UK and US energy secretaries met in London, where they made a commitment to delivering a cleaner, cheaper and more secure energy future.

UK energy security secretary Grant Shapps met his US counterpart in London and committed the UK to greater energy independence through nuclear and renewables.

Shapps and the US energy secretary Jennifer Granholm said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has shown the need to accelerate the move away from fossil fuel dependence.

Shapps pledged this would mean ever greater energy independence – powering Britain from Britain by switching to home-grown sources including nuclear and renewables. 

“Secretary Granholm and I stand shoulder to shoulder in our unending support for Ukraine and in ensuring that neither Putin nor any tyrant ever think they can hold the world to ransom through their energy supply," he said. 

“The war has shown the UK, the US and countries the world over the need for ever greater energy independence, fuelled by moves away from fossil fuels and towards homegrown sources like renewables and nuclear.

“Today I’m pledging to deliver that energy independence – backed by my ambition for lower wholesale electricity prices in the longer term.”

Shapps, who served as transport minister in Boris Johnson’s government, was recently appointed to lead the newly created Energy Security and Net Zero department, tasked with “securing our long-term energy supply, bringing down bills and halving inflation”, according to Downing Street.

The meeting between the two secretaries comes at a crucial moment for the global energy market following Russia’s targeting of Ukraine’s energy system. 

Both secretaries spoke of the need to tackle climate change and transition to renewables and other green energy sources at a dedicated Green Investors Roundtable. After the discussions, the politicians met green entrepreneurs, the government said, to try to facilitate more investment between British and US companies.

“This will also open up opportunities for UK and US companies to work together at the cutting edge of these technologies while also strengthening the historic ties of cooperation between our two countries," Shapps said.

Granholm added: “The United States stands alongside the United Kingdom in support of Ukraine against Russia’s brutal war and its weaponisation of energy markets.

“We are keenly aware that remaining overly reliant on fossil fuels puts our energy security at risk and that the solution lies in diversifying our fuel sources through the deployment of clean energy.

“The Biden-Harris administration has put into place powerful tools such as the inflation reduction act and the bipartisan infrastructure law to lower costs and advance new energy technologies, and we look forward to continue building on a long history of collaboration around our shared clean energy ambitions that will deliver homegrown security and greater independence.”

The UK is currently facing a cost-of-living crisis, largely provoked by the rise in fuel prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The subsequent enormous boost in earnings for energy companies including Shell and BP has led to renewed calls for a toughened windfall tax – something that the new energy department would have to address. 

Last week, it was revealed that households will have to pay an extra £500 a year for their energy from April, despite the fact that Ofgem is poised to announce a reduction in the energy price cap. 

This is a rise from the current rate of £2,500, meaning that consumers will be forced to pay more despite the fact that wholesale prices are down.

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