UK ‘spent £50bn extra on gas since start of war in Ukraine’

If the UK had deployed more renewables and energy efficiency measures the bill would be much lower, analysts have estimated

An extra £50 billion was spent by the UK for wholesale gas since the start of the war in Ukraine, new analysis has estimated.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine saw wholesale gas prices soar – as a result, British households and businesses were hit by much higher bills.

The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) notes that the impact would have been less severe if the UK energy system had more renewables or if there was a wider rollout of energy efficiency measures.

Experts have said prices peaked in March and August at record levels that were at least ten times the typical prices in the years before the crisis.

The ECIU claims that the energy crisis stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had cost the equivalent of £1,000 for every adult in the UK.

Only towards the end of last year did wholesale prices begin to fall, but are still around three times their historical levels.

Dr Simon Cran-McGreehin, head of analysis at ECIU, said: “As the International Monetary Fund has pointed out, the energy crisis hit UK households harder than those in other western European countries because as a nation we’re incredibly dependent on gas.
“The price of gas is largely set by international markets, so the only way to protect yourself is to use less.

“The onshore wind ban has been one of the barriers to this. We’re also running behind places like Sweden, Poland and Estonia on installing electric heat pumps. As renewables and heat pumps proliferate, less imported gas is needed, which in turn benefits our balance of payments and energy security.”

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