UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources


New UCL policy brief shows that an updated energy security strategy is urgently required for the UK

14 November 2023

Jim Watson and Kathy Page from the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources have developed a new policy brief on the current energy crisis, the UK's energy security strategy and the changes needed

Electricity pylons in a field

A new policy briefing from the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources calls for a ‘more comprehensive and coherent’ energy security strategy, as a matter of urgency.

In the briefing, Jim Watson and Kathy Page discuss the background of the current energy crisis, and outline in clear terms what ‘energy security’ truly means. They assess whether current UK energy policies are fit for purpose, providing a timely reminder that we are heading into what is likely to be another difficult winter.

The briefing sets out five key recommendations of what should be included in an improved energy security strategy:

  1. Much more action to reduce energy demand, including policies and funding to drive a rapid acceleration in home energy efficiency and heating upgrades.
  2. A social tariff to shield the most vulnerable citizens from the impacts of high prices.
  3. More rapid deployment of non-fossil energy sources at scale. This should prioritise the cheapest renewable energy sources (solar and wind), faster electricity network development and stronger incentives for the deployment of electric vehicles and heat pumps.
  4. A strategy to manage the decline of UK oil and gas production and the role of fossil fuels in the energy system. This should include investment to ensure resilience of the gas system as demand declines and a broader strategy for a skills transition in the supply chain.
  5. Monitoring and managing the full range of energy security risks. This includes the risks associated with the legacy fossil fuel energy system, and emerging risks associated with critical materials, digitalisation and interconnection.

Briefing co-author Jim Watson noted:

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the government has published two new energy security strategies. Although they include some welcome initiatives, improvements are urgently required. A stronger strategy should include much more action to upgrade the energy efficiency of the UK’s homes. This would save households money, make them more resilient to future price shocks and reduce emissions. The Autumn Statement next week is an opportunity to do just that by increasing budgets for energy efficiency programmes, and through policies to help all households with the up front costs.




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