The UK is set to propel its transition to a more sustainable and secure energy environment following the introduction of its landmark Energy Security Bill today (6th July).
To be announced as part of the Queen’s Speech, the Bill is considered to be the most ambitious package of energy measures to go before parliament in a decade.
Containing 26 measures based around the deployment of low carbon technologies such as carbon capture, usage, and storage (CCUS), and hydrogen, in addition to suggesting measures to mitigate rising energy costs, the Bill will be introduced by Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.
As energy costs continue to rise amidst record inflation and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis, the Bill aims to boost long-term energy independence and security.
To do this, the new package will drive £100bn of private sector investment by 2030 into alternative energy industries, in addition to supporting nearly half a million green jobs by the end of the decade.
‘Carbon capture, utilisation, and storage has a critical role to play in reducing the UK’s emissions and in the development of our industrial regions, where investment in new infrastructure can put us at the forefront of the global net zero transition,” said Ruth Herbert, Chief Executive of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA).
The CCSA has worked on developing an investment framework for CCUS deployment alongside the UK Government.
Last year, the organisation conducted a study that revealed that by 2035, CCUS spending (including hydrogen and greenhouse gas removals) could reach £41bn. By utilising strategies to support domestic companies, a CCUS supply chain could be created in the UK, providing many UK jobs, as well as local manufacturing of products and goods.
Referring to Russia’s stranglehold on Europe’s energy supply, 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.”
As part of the measures, the UK Government has stated that it will focus on driving down the cost of electric heat pumps and deploying heat networks to increase affordability among consumers.
Earlier this year, UK households saw gas and electricity bills skyrocket by nearly 50% due to a range of factors including rising import costs.
Energy costs are set to increase again in October due to continued volatility in gas prices.
According to research, heat network consumers pay a lower price for heat than those on an individual gas boiler, with pumps able to reduce a home’s energy use by ‘well over’ 50%.
To further insulate Brits against rising costs, the Bill includes enabling the extension of the energy price cap beyond 2023, preventing customers from being overcharged, in addition to efforts made by Ofgem to ensure consumers are charged a fair price by regulating the heat networks market.
Commenting on the introduction of heat pumps and other technologies, Ross Easton, Director of External Affairs, Energy Networks Association, said, “With record levels of electric vehicles, renewable energy capacity, and heat pumps being introduced, alongside new technologies such as low carbon hydrogen, the role of our energy networks in integrating these technologies into the energy system has never been more important.”
Other measures laid out in the Bill include energy network company mergers that could save consumers up to £420m over ten years, according to the UK Government.
The full list of measures is available to read here.