Up to eight more nuclear reactors could be delivered on existing sites as part of the UK’s new energy strategy.
The plan, which aims to boost UK energy independence and tackle rising prices, also includes plans to increase wind, hydrogen and solar production.
But experts have called for a bigger focus on energy efficiency and improving home insulation.
Consumers are facing soaring energy bills after the Russian invasion of Ukraine pushed gas prices even higher.
Under the government’s new plans, up to 95% of the UK’s electricity could come from low-carbon sources by 2030.
It outlines, for example, the hope of producing up to 50 gigawatts (GW) of energy through offshore wind farms, which the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis) said would be more than enough to power every home in the UK.
But one of the big points of contention is thought to have been the construction of onshore wind turbines.
Key points of the new energy strategy
- Nuclear – The government plans to reduce the UK’s reliance on oil and gas by building as many as eight new nuclear power stations, plus two new reactors at Sizewell in Suffolk. A new body will oversee the delivery of the new plants.
- Wind – The government aims to reform planning laws to speed up approvals for new offshore wind farms. For onshore wind farms it wants to develop partnerships with “supportive communities” who want to host turbines in exchange for guaranteed cheaper energy bills.
- Hydrogen – Targets for hydrogen production are being doubled to help provide cleaner energy for industry as well as for power, transport and potentially heating.
- Solar – The government will consider reforming rules for installing solar panels on homes and commercial buildings to help increase the current solar capacity by up to five times by 2035.
- Oil and gas – A new licensing round for North Sea projects is being launched in the summer on the basis that producing gas in the UK has a lower carbon footprint than doing so abroad.
- Heat pumps – There will be a £30m “heat pump investment accelerator competition” to make British heat pumps which reduce demand for gas.
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