Leaders of the UK’s energy industry met at Downing Street to discuss their plans to collectively invest over £100bn and create jobs around the country, working with Government to boost energy security.
Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps will meet a wide range of energy companies – including EDF, SSE, Shell and BP, who collectively have multi-billion pound plans to invest in low and zero-carbon projects. Each of these will support thousands of jobs across the country, which could help reduce household energy bills while delivering cleaner, more secure sources of energy, to deliver on the ambition to have the lowest wholesale electricity prices in Europe by 2035.
Mr Shapps will outline Government measures to protect UK energy supplies from disruption both at home and abroad. He will highlight decisions to invest in home-grown energy sources – including renewables, a revival in nuclear power, and backing North Sea oil and gas.
But he will also highlight measures to protect critical energy infrastructure from disruptive protests. This follows in the wake of protests such as those at the Kingsbury and Thurrock clusters of oil terminals and Grangemouth refinery. The Public Order Act now includes a new criminal offence of interfering with key national infrastructure – including oil refineries – aimed at preventing protests from causing or threatening public safety or serious disruption. It particularly addresses tactics that these protesters have used such as locking on and tunneling.
Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We need to send the message loud and clear to the likes of Putin that we will never again be held to ransom with energy supply. The companies I am meeting in Downing Street today will be at the heart of that.
“Energy industry leaders can see that this Government will back home-grown, secure energy – whether that’s renewables, our revival in nuclear, or our support for our vital oil and gas industry in the North Sea.
“But it is a sad reality that we also need to protect our critical national infrastructure from disruptive protests. Today I’ll be setting out what we are doing to achieve this and want to hear from the energy companies the vital work they are doing in this area.”
Energy firms have demonstrated their confidence to invest in the UK, and collectively the firms meeting at 10 Downing Street plan to invest tens of billions over the next decade in energy projects across the country. Some of these investment commitments include:
- Shell UK aims to invest £20-25 billion in the UK energy system over the next 10 years. More than 75% of this is intended for low and zero-carbon products and services.
- bp intends to invest up to £18bn in the UK to the end of 2030.
- SSE plc have announced plans to invest £18bn up to 2027 in low carbon infrastructure creating 1,000 new jobs every year to 2025. SSE’s plans could see it invest up to £40bn across the decade to 2031/32.
- National Grid plc will be investing over £16bn in the five-year period to 2026.
- EDF have outlined plans to invest £13bn to 2025.
To provide greater reassurance and support to industry, the Energy Security Secretary will outline the range of measures the Government is taking to protect energy infrastructure from intentional disruption, as well as maintaining the network’s strong resilience. This includes:
- The Public Order Act, with specific powers coming into effect in July to protect critical infrastructure;
- Working with the Police to ensure protestors cannot gain unauthorised access to sites;
- The work of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, whose 1,300 officers and 300 support staff operate to protect nuclear sites across England, Scotland and Wales
The Energy Security Secretary will also discuss progress on major UK energy investment projects across renewable projects, oil and gas, new nuclear, and new technologies such as carbon capture.
- Carbon capture – earlier this week, the Prime Minister announced two further projects in Humber and the North East of Scotland, which can move towards becoming clusters for this new technology – alongside eight already being considered, and two existing clusters in the North East, and in the North West and Wales.
- Oil and gas – The Prime Minister has also confirmed future licensing rounds will continue for the extraction of oil and gas in the North Sea – while the North Sea Transition Authority reports they have received over 115 bids from 76 companies in the latest licensing round.
- Nuclear – companies can now register their interest with the UK’s new organisation, Great British Nuclear, to secure funding support to develop new technologies including Small Modular Reactors.
- Offshore wind – the UK has the world’s largest operational wind farms off its shores, with plans for further development off the East Anglia Coast and at Dogger Bank in the North East which could collectively provide enough clean energy for over 6.5million homes.