UK wants to triple solar capacity by 2030

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to set out proposals in White Paper

Kwasi Kwarteng, business secretary, is proposing to triple the UK's solar energy capacity. Getty Images
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The UK’s business secretary is putting forward plans to triple the country's solar power capacity by 2030.

Kwasi Kwarteng is also proposing to double onshore wind power under initiatives in an energy security White Paper.

The strategy is also understood to contain plans for at least six nuclear power stations.

The paper has been delayed by the question of costs.

The UK is presently investing in two plants – at Hinkley Point in south-west England and at Sizewell in Suffolk in the south-east.

According to the Financial Times, Mr Kwarteng’s 2030 renewables targets include increasing solar from its current capacity of 14 gigawatts to 50 gigawatts, offshore wind from 11 gigawatts to 50 gigawatts, onshore wind from 15 gigawatts to 30 gigawatts.

RenewableUK, which campaigns to double onshore wind capacity, has welcomed the developments.

“[It is] great news for hard-pressed energy bill payers, because onshore wind is the UK’s cheapest source of new power and we can build shovel-ready projects faster than any other source of energy,” it told the Financial Times.

Kwasi Kwarteng’s 2030 renewables targets include increasing solar from its current capacity of 14 gigawatts to 50 gigawatts. PA

Mr Kwarteng’s plans also include an increase in nuclear power from 7 gigawatts to 16 gigawatts.

Prime minister Boris Johnson set out plans in 2020 aiming for a 40 kilowatt target for offshore wind.

Last year, Norway was the biggest single source of gas supplies to the UK, according to a report by OEUK, which represents the oil, gas and offshore wind energy sector.

OEUK said that unless investment in the North Sea is increased, about 80 per cent of UK gas supplies will have to be sourced abroad by 2030.

This month, Mr Johnson travelled to Saudi Arabia for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the hope that the kingdom will increase its production of oil and gas to make up for a reduced reliance on Russia.

Mr Johnson's government announced a plan to phase out imports of Russian oil by the end of the year.

Updated: March 29, 2022, 11:41 AM