Policies ‘to ensure a steady supply for all’

Business Minister Michael Fallon
Business Minister Michael Fallon
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Energy is a constant concern for many manufacturers so The Star asked Energy Minister Michael Fallon how the sector would look in 2020...

Ensuring the lights stay on and we have the energy supply we need is a key priority of mine. We are in a strong position already, as one of the top five energy secure countries in the world.

To make sure this continues, we are completely overhauling the electricity market to stimulate at least £110 billion investment on electricity infrastructure by 2020. A record £40 billion has been invested since 2010.

Our vision is to have a diverse energy mix that includes nuclear, renewables, oil and gas and innovative technologies like carbon capture and storage.

We are currently one of the most attractive places to invest in renewables, and number one for offshore wind.

We have an immense opportunity to seize the potential of shale gas.

The British Geological Survey’s study of the Bowland-Hodder shale formation, covering eleven counties from Wrexham to Yorkshire, has found massive resources.

Later this year we intend to launch a new licensing round that will open up more parts of the country for exploration and production.

Although the industry is in the early stages in the UK, we are doing everything we can to speed up the process.

We are cutting unnecessary red tape, simplifying the permitting process and creating a tax regime the spurs on investment and creates jobs, while ensuring safe and responsible exploration.

We are also encouraging developers to engage earlier with communities and to make their operations sensitive to local areas.

There are huge economic benefits to be gained from shale gas too. A recent report on the potential of the shale supply chain showed it could create 63,000 jobs and billions of pounds of business in steel, rigs and safe disposal.

Yorkshire will also benefit from the recent long-term contracts that we’ve awarded to a biomass conversion plant in Selby and an offshore wind project off the Yorkshire Coast. These major projects will help to generate clean secure British electricity.

Nuclear is also an important part of our energy mix, and Hinkley Point C in Somerset will be the first new nuclear power station in the UK in a generation.

It will provide a stable source of clean power from 2023, generating enough electricity to power three times the total household consumption of the Yorkshire and Humber Region.

It will begin the process of replacing the existing fleet of nuclear stations, most of which are due to close in the 2020s.

It is now more important than ever that we invest in home-grown energy sources like those above.

They will help to reduce our reliance on foreign imports, protect bill-payers from shocks caused by unstable states such as the Ukraine, and ultimately ensure we have a steady supply of energy for everyone.