Charles Hendry
Tom Keighley

Member Article

Energy security is UK imperative says former Minister

The UK’s energy sector desperately needs to formulate a plan to ensure security, a former Energy and Climate Change Minister has told industry leaders.

Speaking at the NOF Energy annual conference in Gateshead, Charles Hendry MP, suggested that renewable and nuclear energy should be key parts of the plan, balanced with further maximisation of the North Sea oil fields.

Mr Hendry told sector bosses: “If you haven’t got your energy security right you’ll not be going low carbon because you’re burning everything you’ve got, and you’re certainly not going to be affordable.

“The way to resolve this is by using our indigenous resources. Nuclear should be part of that, and it’s fantastic that we’ve agreed a strike price with EDF Energy for the building of a nuclear reactor in Somerset.”

He decried naysayers of renewable energy sources, highlighting the fact the UK lagged significantly behind its European counterparts in its deployment of renewables.

Mr Hendry said the UK should look to oil rich countries that are using their renewable resources to support their domestic population while reserving fossil fuels for export.

He added: “Places like Saudi Arabia, Norway and Kazakhstan are all looking at ways to preserve their precious oil and gas resources for export. If it’s right for them, it must be sensible for us.

“For the UK it means offshore wind, if the cost can be significantly brought down. We already have more offshore wind installed than the rest of the world put together - we’re by far the world leader in this.”

On the subject of shale gas in the UK, Mr Hendry said we needed to properly assess the level of resource, and the viability in extracting it.

He said: “It was just a few years ago that Poland thought it had probably the best resource for shale gas in Europe. However, many big operators like Shell and Exxon moved away from it because it became evident that extraction would be much tougher than first thought.

“It’s also important that we look to the United States, where gas prices have halved, and learn from what has happened there.”

Mr Hendry also touched upon the work of his own cross-parliamentary committee that aims to boost the level of supply chain work for the energy sector in the UK.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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