Wednesday, March 22

Johnson Looks to Nuclear, Wind to Ease UK Energy Cost Pains

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(Bloomberg) — UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is turning to nuclear and wind energy in an attempt to boost Britain’s domestic energy security following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Johnson will meet leaders from the nuclear industry on Monday and they will discuss how to speed the progress of new projects, according to an e-mailed statement from a Downing Street spokesperson. Britain’s premier is also due to speak with CEOs from the wind sector in the coming days, the spokesperson said.

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Ramping up alternative energy sources beyond imported oil and gas has become a priority for Johnson since Russia’s war with Ukraine, which has caused prices to soar and worsened a cost-of-living crisis in the UK Johnson has pledged to ban imports of Russian oil by the end of the year, and ministers are also looking at halting imports of Russian gas.

Read More: UK to Ramp Up Offshore Wind Targets in Energy Security Push

Boosting Britain’s domestic oil and gas production is another goal for Johnson, and Treasury minister Helen Whateley will chair a forum with oil and gas lenders to discuss investment conditions for energy companies operating in the North Sea, according to 10 Downing Street. The government’s full energy security strategy is expected to be published later this month.

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Johnson has been spurred to action by petrol prices hitting records and significant domestic worries over inflation. He travelled to the Gulf last week to urge Saudi Arabia and the UAE to pump more oil to ease the pain, but they gave no guarantees they would do so .

It’s in the context of worries about energy bills and inflation that Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will give his springtime mini-budget on Wednesday, and he’s expected to take action to help households with the cost-of-living crisis. His options include cutting fuel duty and raising tax thresholds: Sunak declined to comment on the specific choices he’d make when asked on Sunday, merely pledging to support people “where we can make a difference.”

Read More: UK’s Sunak Promises to Help Britons With Cost-of-Living Crisis

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