FRIENDS OF THE EARTH have commented on the  government’s energy  security strategy.

The organisation’s energy campaigner, Danny Gross, said: “Households are facing soaring bills and need help right now. The quickest way the government can do this is through renewables and funding a council-led, street-by-street free insulation programme.

“By targeting those most in need first we can make sure fewer people face dire circumstances next winter when the cold weather bites. Instead, the astonishing lack of action on energy efficiency will leave people freezing, desperate and out of pocket next winter.This fails as a strategy, as it does not do the most obvious things that would reduce energy demand and protect households from price hikes. Delving deeper into the UK’s treasure trove of renewables is the surest path to meeting our energy needs – not the fool’s gold of fossil fuels.

“The acceleration in developing offshore wind is certainly welcome, but Ministers must go further and make the most of the UK’s massive onshore wind resources. Wind turbines are fast to build, popular with the public and could provide cash-strapped households with huge quantities of cheap renewable power.

“Nuclear power is not the solution either. New nuclear power stations would take well over a decade to build and they’re expensive, hazardous and produce waste that will remain highly radioactive for thousands of years. We have been here before, with eight nuclear sites announced in 2010. Over a decade on, the only one under construction is seriously behind schedule and over budget, with a price far above current renewables.

“Other countries have taken much bolder action to meet the scale of the challenge. Britain can – and must – raise its ambition, to ensure everyone has access to clean, affordable energy.”

Friends of the Earth’s 5 point Energy Plan calls on the Government to :

  • Introduce a huge nationwide energy efficiency drive – with particular focus on the UK’s heat-leaking homes. The government should pay councils to roll out a street-by-street programme of free loft and wall insulation, starting in neighbourhoods with high fuel poverty. This would not only reduce energy demand, it would cut fuel bills too. Almost 8 million homes could benefit and it could be carried out quickly.
  • Help homes get off gas The government should fully fund low-carbon heating solutions for those unable to pay and remove caps on the number of available grants. Doing so would help the 10 million homes ready for fitting heat pumps, and mean it isn’t just the wealthy who can benefit from the transition to a low-carbon future.
  • Rapidly increase renewable power infrastructure – including onshore wind Homegrown renewable energy is the cheapest form of energy, and onshore wind and solar farms are the fastest to build. And new onshore wind projects produce electricity four times cheaper than gas. Planning barriers that hamper the development of onshore wind must be lifted.
  • Reject calls for new oil and gas extraction projects Opening new gas and oil fields will only fuel further climate breakdown. What’s more, it fails to address the immediate needs of energy security and soaring energy prices.
  • Introduce a windfall tax on fossil fuel companies Fossil fuel companies are enjoying record profits as our energy bills soar. Oil and gas companies should foot the bill.

* Source: Friends of the Earth