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Government Unveils Latest Energy Security Plan

Government Unveils Latest Energy Security Plan
30 March 2023

Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps has announced several new energy management measures, including a commitment to carbon capture and the introduction of “Great British Nuclear”.


Carbon Capture Usage and Storage


Carbon capture is a technology where CO₂ is either selectively captured from ambient air (direct air capture) or directly from carbon dioxide sources such as steel factories. It is then either upcycled into carbon-neutral fuels and materials, or completely removed from the air by storing it deep underground . The government has announced that it will fund eight carbon capture projects initially, following up with further projects.

The technology isn’t without controversy. In 2021, Global Witness and Friends of the Earth Scotland commissioned climate scientists to assess the role of fossil fuel-based Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in the energy system.The study identified several barriers, claiming that fossil fuel-based CCS is not capable of operating with zero emissions, and that even if the technology is to become technically viable at scale, optimistic forecasts do not anticipate significant CCS capacity until at least the 2030s.

Molly Scott Cato, former Green MEP and now Professor of Economics at the University of Roehampton, called the technology “unproven” and called the new strategy a set of “misguided policies that will do nothing to put the UK on track to meet its carbon obligations.”


Great British Nuclear


Based in Manchester, Great British Nuclear will be tasked with driving the delivery of new nuclear projects, with the aim that up to 25 per cent of the UK’s electricity could be from nuclear sources by 2050 – up from 15 per cent today. 

A competition will be launched to select the best Small Modular Reactor technologies for development by autumn 2023. Rolls-Royce SMR Ltd is currently developing one of the world’s first Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) in the UK.

Great British Nuclear will initially be led by Simon Bowen as interim Chair and Gwen Parry-Jones OBE as interim Chief Executive Officer.

Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said: “More nuclear will cut gas imports, cut carbon and create good jobs for communities all across the country.”


The Great British Insulation Scheme


In a move to make the UK’s existing housing stock more energy efficient, the new "Powering up Britain" plan will allow people in council tax bands A-D to qualify for support to make their homes more energy-efficient with measures such as loft and cavity wall insulation. The government also plans to consult by the end of 2023 on how to improve the energy efficiency of owner-occupied homes.


More Funding for Heat Networks


Communal heat network solutions will continue to grow through the Green Heat Network Fund and the Heat Network Efficiency Scheme. Capital support will be extended to 2028 to facilitate the continued growth of low-carbon heat networks, including £220 million for the Heat Network Transformation Programme over 2025/6 and 2026/7.

Picture: a photograph of Grant Shapps. Image Credit: via an Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) licence:

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 30 March 2023


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