Truss urged to tackle energy crisis

Industry has been quick to react to the forthcoming appointment of Liz Truss as the UK’s next PM, with energy identified as one of the top priorities for the incoming premier.


Truss was declared the winner of the Conservative Party leadership contest yesterday (September 5) and will become PM following the resignation of outgoing PM Boris Johnson later today. Truss beat her leadership rival Rishi Sunak with 81,326 votes from Conservative Party members.

Commenting on Truss’ victory, Richard Robinson, Atkins CEO -UK & Europe, said: “Cost of living is clearly a priority for the new PM, and we watch with interest as she sets out short terms plans to tackle energy prices and rising inflation.”

In his final speech as PM, Johnson said government is providing short- and long-term solutions for the nation’s energy requirements.

“Not just using more of our own domestic hydrocarbons but going up by 2030 to 50GW of wind power, that is half this country’s energy electricity needs from offshore wind alone, [and] a new nuclear reactor every year,” he said.

Robinson commented that longer term plans to grow the economy will require more certainty around infrastructure spend, and credible policies that will allow industry to develop solutions to achieve net zero targets.

“With increased clarity and confidence our industry can then invest in the skills, technology and innovation needed as the UK looks to emerge stronger from these challenging times,” he said.

“To meet the UK’s net zero targets and ensure a secure and resilient energy supply in the future, the UK’s electricity generation build rate must increase five-fold – we urgently need to build more energy generation and supporting infrastructure than ever before,” added Christophe Junillon, managing director of Atkins Nuclear & Power, EMEA.

According to Mark Gibson, business development director, RSK Group, the UK needs a detailed net zero investment plan that provides clear focus on where financing is needed, how much, when and what it will achieve.

“Realising objectives in the UK’s 25 Year Environment Plan, National Adaptation Programme, Net Zero Strategy and Energy Security Strategy requires considerable amounts of financing to be mobilised,” said Gibson. “Estimates for the Net Zero Strategy, for instance, indicate that annual investment needs to increase from current levels in the order of £10–15bn to a minimum £50–60bn to 2030.”

Truss is being urged also to consider the contribution made by manufacturing to the UK economy.

Britain’s manufacturers are an excellent example of a growing success story, contributing billions of pounds to GDP every year and vital in implementing the government’s levelling up agenda, creating jobs where they are most needed,” said Stephen Phipson, CEO of Make UK. “But industry at this time needs decisive action from the new government to help it through a prolonged period of unprecedented hikes in energy bills, rising cost of raw materials and critical labour shortages in order to keep Britain’s place as a leader of innovation on the world stage.”

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