What's at Stake
The consequences of Britain’s energy insecurity are impossible to miss. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to surging energy bills, massive public spending, and the sharpest fall in living standards since records began. In other words, we have allowed ourselves to get into a position where events completely out of our control can create economic chaos and push households to the brink. The Powerbook’s objective is simple: make sure this never happens again by making Britain fundamentally robust to external energy shocks.
The current state of affairs was not inevitable, but a result of political choices. Britain split the atom and built the world’s first commercial nuclear power station, but it has been 27 years since we last built a nuclear power station. We possess the best conditions in Europe for wind power, but new onshore wind farms are effectively banned in England and it can take 13 years to build a new offshore wind farm in Britain due to a malfunctioning planning system.
To make Britain energy secure, we will need to more than triple the amount of energy generated from offshore wind, connect two new nuclear power stations to the grid, and build more grid infrastructure in the next seven years than was built in the last 32. It will mean accelerating the development of technologies such as hydrogen, batteries, and small modular reactors.
The challenge is massive – it will require genuine political will, major investments in new technologies, and innovation from industry – but so is the reward.