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HomeRenewablesClaire CoutinhoUK Energy Secretary: Gas backup crucial in energy transition

UK Energy Secretary: Gas backup crucial in energy transition

The Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Claire Coutinho, addressed energy security concerns in a speech at Chatham House.

Ms Coutinho stressed the importance of gas backup for renewables, warning of potential blackouts without it.

The Energy Secretary said: “Without gas backing up renewables, we face the genuine prospect of blackouts. Other countries in recent years have been so threatened by supply constraints that they were forced back to coal.

“There are no easy solutions in energy, only trade-offs. If countries are forced to choose between net zero and keeping citizens safe and warm, believe me they’ll choose to keep the lights on.

“We will not let ourselves be put in that position. And so, as we continue to move towards clean energy, we must also be realistic. A renewables-based energy system needs backing up with power plants, which we can ramp up and ramp down when it isn’t windy or sunny enough.”

Ms Coutinho added: “Anyone who tells you that we can ‘just stop’ oil and gas is not just wrong, but naive. Imagine if we told people that we are going to shut down all petrol stations today because we think electric cars will be the norm in 2050. People would rightly tell us that we were insane.

“Their instincts would tell them that we cannot affect that kind of change overnight. And that’s true of our energy system too.”

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