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Thursday, October 21, 2021

An industry bailout isn’t the answer to our energy crisis

Far better to go all out to secure further energy supplies. LNG imports could be ramped up and the cargo ships that it arrives on left outside Britain’s ports ready to offload when they are needed over the winter. Ministers could also look to reopen the Rough gas storage facility in partnership with a commercial operator, similar to the deal that has been struck with fertiliser giant CF Industries to keep vital CO2 supplies flowing to industry.

Though it would still leave the UK well behind other European countries, capacity would double overnight, providing a bigger buffer from market forces and price spikes. And the regulator should reverse its decision to block Shell from developing the Jackdaw gas field in the North Sea.

Then there needs to be a full review into the country’s long-term energy mix, including whether there is a place for fracking after all, at least until renewables are capable of fulfilling our needs, and a proper nuclear strategy that doesn’t rely on Chinese technology and financing.

But don’t hold your breath. Whatever the solution, it requires urgency, decisiveness, and for government departments to work closely together, all of which seem to have eluded this shambolic Cabinet so far.

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