Today’s announcement of the UK’s new Energy Strategy will do nothing for businesses struggling to meet huge price rises right now - it is a bit like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.
The country’s reliance on energy produced outside the country has contributed to the costs crisis that businesses throughout the UK are facing right now.
Boosting the UK’s energy independence is all well and good - but it has taken a crisis such as the one we are all experiencing right now for action to be taken. But like all strategies - this is for the future not for the here and now.
Some of the key aspects of the new Energy Strategy are:
- Building eight new nuclear power stations, plus two new reactors at Sizewell in Suffolk.
- Reform of planning laws to speed up approvals for new offshore wind farms. Develop partnerships with "supportive communities" who want to host on-shore turbines in exchange for guaranteed cheaper energy bills.
- Targets for hydrogen production doubled to provide cleaner energy for industry as well as for power, transport and potentially heating.
- Consideration of reforming rules for installing solar panels on homes and commercial buildings to help increase the current solar capacity by up to five times by 2035.
- A new licensing round for North Sea projects on the basis that producing gas in the UK has a lower carbon footprint than doing so abroad.
- A £30m "heat pump investment accelerator competition" to make British heat pumps which reduce demand for gas.
It is pretty clear to me that many of these options in the new strategy will take several years to implement and so businesses and consumers will continue to be reliant on fossil fuels for some time to come.
I would have hoped for some quick wins in this strategy that the Government could implement now and that would deliver some relief to those thousands of businesses throughout the UK that are struggling to meet their energy costs.
For example more than 50 per cent of the cost for a unit (kWh) of electricity is tax and distribution of one form or another. It is a shame the Government didn’t suspend or reduce some of these for 12 months to help businesses.
Instead the volatility of the international energy markets continues to frustrate and alarm in equal measure. We are working closely with all of our clients to find the best solution for their needs given the current difficulties.
If your business is facing a huge increase in energy bills and you are not sure you are getting the best advice in how to deal with it, give us a call and we will see what we can do to help you with energy advice that you know you can trust.