The prime minister has confirmed she is launching new North Sea oil and gas licensing to drive home-grown energy in the UK and tackle the winter crisis.
In a series of tweets posted today, Liz Truss said: “To secure our long-term energy supply and reduce reliance on authoritarian regimes, we’re accelerating our domestic energy production, including launching a new North Sea oil and gas licensing round.
“We’re also speeding up deployment of renewables including hydrogen, solar and wind.”
This morning, the climate minister said the government will not tell people to reduce energy usage because it is “not a nanny-state” but will not rule out rationing.
It comes as British households face rolling three-hour long blackouts if gas imports fall short of demand this winter, National Grid has warned.
Welcome to our energy live blog where we will be updating you with all the latest on energy and blackouts. Stay tuned.
Britain could face rolling three-hour blackouts this winter if imports stall
British households face rolling blackouts if gas imports fall short of demand this winter, National Grid has warned.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created “unprecedented turmoil and volatility” in energy markets, the company said on Thursday, adding that there could be pre-planned power cuts across the country in three-hour slots to give priority to power plants.
Britain leans heavily on gas for power stations and on electricity imported from continental Europe, which is facing an energy crisis as Putin’s war disrupts supplies, writes Anna Isaac.
National Grid ‘cautiously confident’ it can keep the lights on
Rees-Mogg: New oil and gas licensing will boost UK economy and energy security
A new licensing round for oil and gas exploration will boost both the UK’s economy and energy security, business and energy secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg has insisted.
The UK government minister spoke out as the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) began the 33rd round of offshore licences.
Licences are being made available for sectors of the North Sea - known as blocks - with the NSTA estimating that over 100 may be granted.
Speaking ahead of the process getting under way on Friday, Mr Rees-Mogg said: “Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine means it is now more important than ever that we make the most of sovereign energy resources, strengthening our energy security now and into the future.
“Ensuring our energy independence means exploiting the full potential of our North Sea assets to boost domestic production - recognising that producing gas in the UK has a lower carbon footprint than importing from abroad.”
Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg spoke as the North Sea Transition Authority began its latest round of licensing for offshore oil and gas.
Liz Truss blocks energy saving campaign ‘on ideological grounds’
Liz Truss has blocked plans for a public information campaign asking people to save energy over the winter, reportedly because she is “ideologically opposed” to the idea.
Government ministers on Friday morning confirmed that they would not be urging people to keep an eye on their usage despite warnings from National Grid of possibly rolling blackouts.
Business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg is said to have been keen on a £15 million campaign as a relatively cost-effective way of reducing the UK’s energy usage at a time of surging prices and scarcity.
The “light touch” and would have recommended measures designed to help people save up to £300 a year – including lower the temperature of of boilers and turning down radiators in empty rooms.
Our policy correspondent Jon Stone has more:
Measure proposed by the business department was considered too economically interventionist
Climate minister says ‘we’re not a nanny-state government'
Climate minister Graham Stuart has said “we’re not a nanny-state government” and outlined why a general message to use less energy would “probably make no difference”.
Speaking to LBC and asked why the Prime Minister might be opposed to a public information campaign on reducing energy consumption, Mr Stuart said: “Technically, a general campaign about reducing energy would probably make no difference to our energy security. So, that would be a good reason not to do it.
“We’re also hesitant to tell people what they should do when we’re not a nanny-state government. What we are prepared to do is talk to the big energy users and talk to consumers with smart technology about rewarding them for reducing energy at the peak times.
“The danger is if you had a sort of general ‘use less energy’ message that the wrong lessons would be taken on board by people.”
Government working with Ofgem and National Grid to reduce energy use, climate minister says
The government is supporting Ofgem to develop ways for business and consumers to reduce energy use at peak times, climate minister Graham Stuart said.
He told LBC: “We’ve worked with Ofgem and National Grid and others to make sure we’ve got the maximum flex we can, in the very unlikely scenario there was a supply shortage.
“And that’s why coming up with... we’ve worked with them, they’re talking to the big gas users and the commercial sector about a voluntary scheme there where they might, you know, be paid to reduce their demand at peak moments.
“Because for us it’s all about the peak, it’s about meeting these peaks rather than the kind of overall usage in terms of security of supply, and likewise using the smart meter technology that’s been installed in many homes to allow people to, again voluntarily, reduce their usage and get rewarded for doing so.”
Asked how rewards would work, he said: “That is being led by Ofgem, and I’m not personally responsible for the means in which that’s delivered so I don’t quite know, but we’re supporting them to come up with practical schemes that allow that to happen.”
6 ways to light your home during a blackout
A shortage of gas, which generated 40 per cent of UK electricity last year, could result in three-hour blackouts to conserve supplies for heating homes and buildings.
So how can you keep your home light in the event of a blackout? Here’s everything you need to know:
Households across the UK could face power cuts this winter
Nicola Sturgeon asks Scottish people to be ‘sensible about their energy usage'
First minister Nicola Sturgeon has asked Scottish people to be “sensible about their energy usage” this winter and said new oil and gas exploration should not happen on the whims of UK government ministers.
Ms Sturgeon told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There is real concern to people about energy supplies over the winter period.
“We are seeing a lack of planning and basic communication from the UK government. That’s particularly galling in a Scottish context because we are a net exporter of electricity. We generate sufficient renewable electricity to cover almost all of our domestic needs.
“We are part of the GB grid so we’re reliant on the UK government taking good decisions itself. I think there needs to be, a bit like during Covid, candid explanations to people about the challenges we’re facing, good advice to people about what we’re asking them to do.”
She also said: “Any consent for new (oil and gas) exploration should not happen without the most stringent climate compatibility checks.”
She added that it would not happen in an independent Scotland “without stringent compatibility checks. Not with Jacob Rees-Mogg waking up in the morning and deciding it’s the right thing to do”.
Ms Sturgeon said: “My objection to the UK government’s approach is the haphazard approach to it which is undermining energy security. The route to energy security is renewable energy.”
Government ‘does not expect’ blackouts to happen, climate minister says
Climate minister Graham Stuart has said the government “does not expect” blackouts to occur but are planning for “all eventualities”.
It comes National Grid has warned the UK could face three-hour long blackouts this winter if gas imports fall short.
Government not advising people to reduce energy usage
The government is not telling people to reduce overall energy consumption, a minister has said, but he refused to rule out rationing.
Climate minister Graham Stuart said rather than looking at reducing overall use, the government is supporting the energy regulator to devise solutions to provide incentives for businesses and consumers to potentially cut peak-time energy demand if needed.
During a series of broadcast interviews on Friday, he said the UK’s energy security is “pretty strong”, and he noted National Grid said blackouts this winter are an “unlikely” scenario.
Mr Stuart also said he does not recognise a report in The Times which claimed Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg signed off on a £15 million public information campaign about using less energy this winter only for the plan to be ruled out by Prime Minister Liz Truss.
“I don’t recognise that. We are in an iterative process of policy development and ideas, and we come to a conclusion,” Mr Stuart told Sky News.
“The idea there was some highly developed campaign... passionately devoted to and Number 10 nixed it, I don’t recognise that.”
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