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Monday, 10th September 2007

Energy Security in the UK

Energy Security in the UK
Source: Institute for Public Policy Research

The Energy White Paper, published in May 2007, highlighted energy security and mitigating climate change as the two major challenges facing the energy sector in the UK. This FactFile assesses the energy security challenges facing the UK’s electricity, transport and heating sectors. It goes on to outline potential solutions, the barriers to their implementation, and their impact on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The issue of energy security is currently receiving a lot of attention in the UK. Dwindling oil and gas reserves in the North Sea and the impending closure of a number of power stations have focused attention on the problem of ensuring the lights do not go out. But energy security is not just about electricity. Transport accounts for almost all of our oil use and a greater proportion of natural gas is used in the domestic and commercial sectors (mainly for heating) than is used to generate electricity. This means that disruption of gas and oil supplies could leave us cold and stationary, as well as in the dark.

Whatever the precise mix of measures taken, it is clear that a radical shift is necessary in our energy supply and use. The policy decisions made by government in the coming months and years will set the course for our energy use for decades to come. Investments in new infrastructure will tie us to particular fuels and technologies. The challenge is to set a course that has the vision to meet our long-term objectives and that can achieve both security of supply and security of the climate.

+ Full Paper (PDF; 430 KB)



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