UK energy bills set to soar due to gas import dependency, warn experts

The UK could face a rise in import dependency to 85% by 2035 under current government policies, according to a report

British homes could be heavily dependent on foreign gas as the UK faces a decline in North Sea gas output.

That’s according to analysis by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) which has warned that without significant investment in insulation, renewables and heat pumps, the UK’s gas trade deficit could soar to £30 billion annually by the early 2030s.

The ECIU estimates that current government policies could lead to import dependency rising to 85% by 2035, which could cost households £500 per year in payments to overseas gas producers.

North Sea gas output is expected to fall by 75% by 2035, with imports needing to increase as a result. UK homes will become even more reliant on foreign gas unless policies are enacted to speed up British renewables deployment and increase insulation in homes.

Currently, the UK imports around half of its gas, but that could rise to 85% by 2035 without these measures, experts have said.

The ECIU has analysed that the UK would be paying up to £30 billion annually for net imports of gas from the early 2030s, with the gas trade deficit over four times the level before the gas crisis.

A house with average insulation, a gas boiler, and average electricity usage could be using £5,700 of foreign gas over the next 12 years, according to the report.

Dr Simon Cran-McGreehin, the Head of Analysis at ECIU, pointed out that North Sea gas output has been declining, and the official forecasts indicate that this trend will continue.

A Department for Energy Security and Net Zero spokesperson told ELN: “This analysis fails to take into account the plans we have in place for powering up Britain, including significant investment in new renewable and nuclear projects. All this is backed by billions of pounds of government funding, leveraging around £100 billion in private investment.  


“This is on top of our commitment to invest £6.6 billion in energy efficiency upgrades this parliament, with a further £6 billion to 2028. We have upgraded around 2.4 million homes through our Energy Company Obligation scheme alone, while our Boiler Upgrade Scheme enables consumers to purchase a heat pump at an increasingly comparable price to a gas boiler.”

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