The unrest in the Ukraine, the unavoidable closure of the last coal mines in Britain and the delayed exploration into fracking have prompted some experts to speak out over the future of gas supplies in Britain.
This time, it’s the chief executive of Centrica, Sam Laidlaw, who warns that prices will rise dramatically as we are forced to import more fuel than ever before. He has spoken out in a bid to make people listen about the dangers of being reliant on single sources, he claims change must be made to source our gas from elsewhere.
Although the North Sea production of oil didn’t drop as much as expected there were still significantly less barrels being produced. He predicts that we’ll be importing almost three quarters of our energy supplies in just fifteen years and the Energy Minister agrees.
Taxed Out of the Market
The high taxes on emissions from coal are leaving the mines no option but to close, as coal currently provides up to 40% of our electricity supply the alternative is to import fuel from overseas. In a bizarre twist the UK is the only country to exert this fine on coal emissions, and as such the only country in Europe that is cutting off its nose to spite its face as others turn to fossil fuels to make their own supplies secure.
The confusion over fracking along with the protests has also delayed progress when there could be trillions of cubic feet of natural gas in the North alone. Tapping into this would bring prices down as the UK became less reliant on countries abroad.
Activity Grinds to a Halt
Laidlaw is worried that with the political unrest the focus on investment in UK energy sources has shifted, he argues that it’s almost “ground to a halt” at a time when it’s needed the most. He points out that importing gas is much riskier than investing in fracking or alternative means as the UK don’t have control over the other countries and world events that could interrupt or damage supply.
It seems that lack of investment is also due to Ed Miliband’s claims that he’ll freeze energy prices which has put investors off. See why Ed Miliband could cause huge blackouts very soon in our Miliband blog.