UK Gas is a Source of Strength

On the 22nd November 2021, at the Reuters Energy Transition Europe 2021 Conference, the Secretary of State and Energy Minister for the UK, Kwasi Kwarteng, commented on the roadmap for decarbonising UK industry and energy as well as COP26.

He reaffirmed that the UK Government are trying to accelerate transition, carbon neutrality and net zero, working closely with those deploying capital. The fact that the UK continental shelf is able to meet 50% of UK gas demand is a source of strength for the country and therefore could not join nor commit to the oil and gas alliance. The UK oil and gas industry is too large to ‘flip a switch’ and neither did the Government want to halt investment – a lot of which will be channelled into energy transition, including hydrogen and CCS.

Other general points raised at the conference included:

  • Policy makers can amplify the impact of the private sector on energy transition.
  • The electricity grid and associated infrastructure requires significant investment to handle the projected future energy mix.
  • Permitting is still a considerable hurdle to the rapid roll-out of renewables – it currently takes 5 years to secure permits and build a wind farm.
  • Hydrogen is needed to support renewables across multiple sectors, but investment in storage is needed to help provide 15% of a fully decarbonised energy mix by 2050.