Many thanks for contacting me about fracking.
In order to ensure that the UK is no longer dependent on the global energy market and the actions of malign actors, the Government has made clear its aim to ensure the UK is a net energy exporter by 2040. As part of this ambition, the Prime Minister has announced the end of the moratorium on extracting shale extraction, where there is local support.
The wholesale price of gas and energy has increased in the UK and Europe due to various factors, including an increase in demand as economies across the globe reopened after lockdowns. In light of Russia’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine, which has also contributed to further global gas price rises, the Government has been clear that it’s right we move away from dependence on Russian gas and increase self-reliance with our energy sources.
In April 2022, the Government commissioned the British Geological Survey to advise on the latest scientific evidence around shale gas extraction. This request was made to simply assess if any progress has been made in the scientific understanding of fracking. I am reassured that any exploration or development of shale gas would need to meet rigorous safety and environmental protections both above ground and sub-surface.
I am glad that the Energy Security Strategy was published, which outlines how cleaner and more affordable energy will be made in Great Britain to boost our long-term energy independence, security and prosperity. The Strategy sets out how the Government will accelerate the deployment of wind, new nuclear, solar and hydrogen, whilst supporting the production of domestic oil and gas from the North Sea in the nearer term – which could see 95 per cent of electricity by 2030 being low carbon.
You may be interested to know that renewable energy is cheaper than gas and therefore one long-term solution is to move in that direction. I welcome that the UK renewable capacity is up 500 per cent since 2010. However, the Government recognises that more must be done, and so is accelerating renewables with annual Contract for Difference auctions. I want to be clear that the more cheap, clean power we generate in the UK, the less exposed we will be to global gas markets.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
14 September 2022