Director of the University of Aberdeen’s Centre of Energy Transition, Professor John Underhill, has welcome the UK Government’s publication of a new energy strategy, stating that it presents a ‘holistic approach’ to sustainability.

The British Energy Security Strategy, announced on April 6th, laid out the UK Government’s commitments to accelerating deployment of low-carbon energy sources such as carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) technologies and hydrogen. 

Stating that the strategy recognises the ‘inherent complexity’ of our energy supplies, Underhill added that it also shows an appreciation of what contributes to our current energy system. 

“It presents a holistic approach governed by the need for secure, affordable, ethical, environmentally sustainable, and low carbon energy supplies,” he said. 

Underhill sees renewable and decarbonising technologies playing a key role in weaning consumers off the dependency on oil and gas. 

With the UK relying on oil and gas to fulfil 75% of its total energy needs – including around 40% for electricity – the new energy strategy could help trigger a nationwide shift to low carbon energy sources. 

To help fund innovative technologies that could strengthen the nation’s energy security, the Government also revealed a £375m support package.

 “This investment will unlock the enormous potential of hydrogen fuel, advance nuclear reactors and carbon capture to level up the UK energy landscape and deliver for businesses and households,” commented Kwasi Kwarteng, Business and Energy Secretary. 

According to the strategy - hailed by industry leaders as a ‘once-in-a-generation’ opportunity to meet net zero targets - nuclear, offshore wind, and hydrogen technologies will be used to ensure 95% of UK electricity is low carbon by 2030, in addition to revealing a commit to a new licensing round for North Sea oil and gas in the Autumn. 

“Although the strategy includes a commitment to a new North Sea licensing round, it is worth emphasising that any gas and oil production that follows from an exploration licensing round is years away and so, is not a short-term solution for the UK’s gas supplies,” said Underhill. 

He added that short term needs may require the development of existing gas discoveries in the North Sea and West Shetlands and re-purposing depleted gas fields in the Southern North Sea for gas storage. 

“These options also carry a lower carbon footprint than imports, are proven technologies, have lower environmental impact, are cheap, and allow existing infrastructure to be used.”