Strategy due

New Acorn appeal as Kwarteng unveils energy plan

Kwasi Kwarteng
Kwasi Kwarteng: energy plan to be unveiled

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is due to publish the UK government’s long-awaited energy strategy later this week, which will reveal ambitions to expand nuclear and offshore wind power.

It will outline plans to make the UK less reliant on overseas sources of energy in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine which has caused uncertainty over oil and gas supplies across Europe.

Ministers are likely to “keep the door open” to the controversial practice of fracking – extracting shale gas from the ground – although a government ban on it remains in place.

Solar power is also expected to be part of the strategy – with incentives also being considered for people who live near new large solar farms. 

There are also new calls to include a carbon capture site in the North East of Scotland.

SNP MPs Stephen Flynn, Kirsty Blackman and Richard Thomson have written to Mr Kwarteng urging him to reverse the decision to overlook the Acorn project in the first phase of carbon capture projects.

The site in St Fergus, Aberdeenshire, lost out on a £1 billion project late last year – despite it being promised in the 2015 Conservative manifesto.

Mr Flynn, Shadow Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesperson, said: “In [former PM] David Cameron’s 2015 government manifesto, he confirmed that a CCUS would site in the North East at a value of £1 billion. The fact they reneged on this referendum promise shows exactly why the Tories cannot be trusted.

“In January, the SNP Scottish Government stepped in with £80 million for the project, but in order to reach its full potential the UK government should be investing too. 

“That is why, alongside my colleagues from the North East, we have written to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – urging him to use the upcoming energy strategy to create a Track 1 carbon capture site in the North East of Scotland which, in turn, will create up to 20,600 jobs in the next decade.

“We know that the Treasury will reap the rewards of inflated oil and gas prices, with £13.6 billion of additional income generated from Scotland’s resources, and a further £6 billion earned from the Emissions Trading Scheme.

“This money must be used to invest in the Scottish Cluster if we are to meet our emissions reduction milestones, and for a just transition to net zero – not just for Scotland, but across the UK.

“If the Secretary of State fails to deliver on this, he – alongside his Tory colleagues – will have betrayed the people of North East Scotland yet again.”

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