There is no doubt from today’s announcement there is a divide on the future of energy costs and security between what is needed and what is being delivered.
The Government has set out a series of measures which will limit household energy bills to £2,500, with additional measures for heat networks and oil users. All businesses, charities and public users will also benefit from similar support.
There was however further announcements regarding energy generation and security.
There were positives – unlocking the potential for nuclear and small modular reactors plus the removal of the price cap for electricity generated from gas – releasing cheaper forms of energy generation could really be game changing for those businesses and households which rely on electricity only.
Again it was pleasing to hear the commitment to Net Zero by 2050.
But what was troubling to hear was the ‘dash for gas’ – increasing licences for the north sea oil and gas, but worryingly the ending of the moratorium on fracking if there is local support for the scheme. Fracking is notoriously unpopular, it will not be swift, and it will be expensive.
There needs to be more alternative sources of energy to ensure we are delivering the country’s energy needs in a cost effective and environment effective way. This should be a golden age for onshore wind, solar, tidal, hydro, hydrogen and nuclear – not for the oil and gas industries. These are the most cost efficient ways of energy generation and we should be doubling down on these methods to provide security to both supply and costs.
Again there was no mention from the Government about reinstating insulation and energy efficiency methods. Does this miss the opportunity to develop better ways of insulation and energy efficiency? Today’s announcement just keeps the status quo and an additional reliance on fossil fuels.
So the divide is clear to see. And who pays for this? Seemingly households over a prolonged period of time, with no windfall tax on the reported super profits of £170 billion of the oil and gas companies. And no real detail on how we can deliver more energy from alternative sources in the future.
Liz Truss will limit energy bill rises for all households for two years as the new prime minster tries to prevent widespread hardship. A typical household energy bill will be capped at £2,500 annually until 2024. The huge support scheme could cost up to £150bn, but Ms Truss refused to put a figure on it, saying "extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures". Businesses will get support, with bills capped for six months, a shorter period of protection than many had hoped for. The help will be for everyone in England, Scotland and Wales with equivalent assistance for Northern Ireland.