Kwasi Kwarteng: ‘Net zero is the solution to the global gas crisis’

The Business Secretary has delivered a speech addressing energy security concerns

Big Zero Report 2022

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng delivered a speech to the Harvard Kennedy School, outlining the most appropriate ways to delivery energy security throughout the UK.

“The way to decarbonise isn’t through a planned economy – but through the British way – science, innovation powered on by free enterprise,” he said.

There is much anticipation for the Energy Security Strategy to be announced later this week, with continual worries due to high gas prices and a need to gain a cleaner energy independence.

Although the details of this strategy are yet to be revealed, the Business Secretary made clear his views on a free-market economy being used to bolster offshore wind, batteries and other renewable technologies. “This is how we will deliver net by 2050,” he said, “working in partnership with business, science and academia.”

“Net zero is the solution to the global gas crisis, not the cause. Expensive gas is the problem – cheap, clean, homegrown energy is the solution,” he exclaimed.

Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and increasing energy costs, he said: “Transforming our energy system is no longer just about hitting net zero targets and tacking climate change – as important as they are – it is also about national security.”

He views this issue as even more reason to move away from fossil fuels and reshape the UK energy space to become cleaner and freer.

“Even those countries that are not physically dependent on Russian hydrocarbons – like the UK – we are still vulnerable to prices that are dictated by global markets heavily influenced by Russia – ratcheting up costs for UK consumers.

“For as long as we depend on oil and gas – wherever it is from – we are all vulnerable to Putin’s malign influence on global markets.

“With gas prices at record highs and the price of renewable energy plummeting, we need to accelerate our transition away from expensive gas.”

Nuclear, renewables and a continuation of oil and gas were suggested as the ways the government should approach the future.

On nuclear, he said: “Most of Britain’s nuclear fleet will be decommissioned this decade. We need to replace what we’re losing and go further – from large-scale plants to Small Modular Reactors.

“In this week’s Energy Security Strategy, we’ll reverse 30 years of drift and take the big decisions to generate more nuclear power.”

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