The UK's Energy Security Strategy, released today, sets out how the UK will accelerate the deployment of wind, new nuclear, solar and hydrogen, whilst supporting the production of domestic oil and gas. The strategy, government says, could see 95% of electricity by 2030 being low carbon.

The strategy will see a significant acceleration of nuclear energy, with an ambition of up to 24GW of installed nuclear capacity by 2050, representing up to around 25% of the UK's projected electricity demand.

Subject to technology readiness from industry, small modular reactors will form "a key part" of the nuclear project pipeline, the government said in a statement. 

In addition, a new government body, Great British Nuclear, will be set up immediately to bring forward new projects. This entity will be backed by substantial funding, and the government will launch the £120 million Future Nuclear Enabling Fund this month. The government said it will work to progress a series of projects as soon as possible this decade, including Wylfa site in Anglesey. This could mean delivering up to eight reactors, equivalent to one reactor a year instead of one a decade, accelerating nuclear in Britain.

The ambitious plans also include:

  • A new goal for up to 50GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030. This includes up to 5GW from floating offshore wind in deeper seas. New planning reforms aim cut the approval times for new offshore wind farms from four years to one year.
  • A licensing round for new North Sea oil and gas projects planned to launch in Autumn, with a new taskforce providing bespoke support to new developments – recognising the importance of these fuels to the transition and to our energy security, and that producing gas in the UK has a lower carbon footprint than imported from abroad.
  • Consulting on developing partnerships with a limited number of supportive communities who wish to host new onshore wind infrastructure in return for guaranteed lower energy bills.
  • A £30 million Heat Pump Investment Accelerator Competition running in 2022 to develop heat pump manufacturing with a goal of reeducing demand for gas.
  • Plans to increase the UK’s current 14GW of solar capacity by up to five times by 2035, consulting on the rules for solar projects, particularly on domestic and commercial rooftops.
  • An ambition to have up to 10GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030, with at least half coming from green hydrogen and utilising excess offshore wind power to bring down costs. 

"We have seen record high gas prices around the world. We need to protect ourselves from price spikes in the future by accelerating our move towards cleaner, cheaper, home-grown energy," said Business and Energy Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng.

"The simple truth is that the more cheap, clean power we generate within our borders, the less exposed we will be to eye watering fossil fuel prices set by global markets we can’t control.

Scaling up cheap renewables and new nuclear, while maximising North Sea production, is the best and only way to ensure our energy independence over the coming years."