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Energy crisis: UK unveils 'urgent' £375m energy package to slash bills and Russian ties

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In the wake of the skyrocketing fossil fuel prices and the conflict in Ukraine, the UK has looked to increase its energy security. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has unveiled the new British Energy Security Strategy that details the country’s energy transition plan over the current decade. Alongside this new roadmap, the Government has unveiled an investment package worth hundreds of millions of pounds for developing cutting-edge energy technologies that could help slash the out of control electricity and gas bills.

Earlier this month, the new Ofgem price cap came into effect, raising average household energy bills by £700 pounds.

One major reason for the rising global gas prices is the conflict in Ukraine, with Russia threatening to withhold gas supplies from the EU.

In order to ensure that the UK has an energy system strong enough to withstand such manipulations, the Government announced a “£375 million package of support for innovative energy technologies that will power British homes and businesses for decades to come”.

According to the statement: “This includes £240 million to support the production of hydrogen as a clean, low-cost fuel for industry, £2.5 million of funding to develop next-generation nuclear technology and a further £5 million towards research into carbon capture.”

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “This investment will unlock the enormous potential of hydrogen fuel, advanced nuclear reactors and Carbon Capture to level up the UK energy landscape and deliver for businesses and households.

“High gas prices and Russia’s aggression in Ukraine have highlighted the urgent need to produce more of our energy here in the UK.

“That’s why we have set out bold plans to harness clean, cutting-edge, homegrown technologies and build the energy security we need for the future.

Green hydrogen is tipped to be a crucial fuel for the future, being able to replace fossil fuel-based natural gas in both industrial and household applications.

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The largest share of the funding will go to the £240 million Net Zero Hydrogen Fund, which aims to advance the UK’s ambitions to “have up to 2GW of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2025 and up to 10GW installed by 2030, using electricity to produce power from water by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen to create a fuel for industry”.

Mike Foster, CEO of the Energy and Utilities Alliance, says: “The PM has made his move towards hydrogen, doubling his ambition and we say ‘well done’.

“He has recognised the need for a flexible, low carbon and affordable gas to heat homes and power industry. Hydrogen is that gas.

“Hydrogen heating will mean people can keep their gas boilers, cookers and fires; it is just the gas that is being changed.

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“We did the same thing in the 1960s, moving from Town Gas to natural gas, now we will move from natural gas to hydrogen.

“The UK will lead the way, as it did before, and that is what this government wants to see.”

According to the statement: “Today’s investment will support research, development and deployment of these cutting-edge technologies and give the country the energy independence it needs, reducing reliance on expensive fossil fuels.

“From next-generation nuclear reactors, to hydrogen fuel for industry, power, transport and heating, the Government is revolutionising the way the UK gets its energy across a range of technologies.”



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