UK and US announce energy partnership

The agreement will work towards reducing global dependency on Russian energy exports, stabilising energy markets, and stepping up collaboration

The UK and US will work together to increase energy security and drive down prices as part of an initiative announced by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and US President Joe Biden on December 7, 2022.

Under the new ‘UK-US Energy Security and Affordability Partnership’, the two countries will drive work to reduce global dependency on Russian energy exports, stabilise energy markets, and step-up collaboration on energy efficiency, nuclear, and renewables.

A statement added that the initiative will be steered by a new UK-US Joint Action Group, led by senior officials from the UK government and the White House.

The new partnership follows a meeting between the Prime Minister and President Biden at the G20 summit in Indonesia, where they agreed to take forward work to address the UK’s short-term energy needs and spearhead efforts to speed up its energy transition.

The Prime Minister said: “Together the UK and US will ensure the global price of energy and the security of our national supply can never again be manipulated by the whims of a failing regime.

“We have the natural resources, industry, and innovative thinking we need to create a better, freer system and accelerate the clean energy transition. This partnership will bring down prices for British consumers and help end Europe’s dependence on Russian energy once and for all.”

The war in Ukraine has caused an international spike in energy prices. To help deal with the resulting rise in the cost of living, the group will work to ensure the market delivers sustained increases in the supply of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) to UK terminals from the US and will collaborate on energy efficiency measures, the UK Government statement said.

As part of this, the US will strive to export at least 9-10 billion cubic metres of LNG over the next year via UK terminals, more than doubling the level exported in 2021. This will benefit both UK and European partners and to fulfil this shared objective, both governments will work to proactively identify and resolve any issues faced by exporters and importers.

The Joint Action Group will also work to reduce global reliance on Russian energy by driving efforts to increase energy efficiency and supporting the transition to clean energy, expediting the development of clean hydrogen globally and promoting civil nuclear as a secure use of energy.

Working Together 

The partnership will build on the work of the UK-US Strategic Energy Dialogue led by energy ministers, with a focus on gas supply, energy efficiency, civil nuclear and clean energy. On civil nuclear, it will promote nuclear energy as a safe and reliable part of the clean energy transition. This includes deepening global collaboration on nuclear fuels and advanced nuclear technologies.

Furthermore, the partnership will also drive international investment in clean energy technologies, from offshore wind to carbon capture, the statement said. 

This will complement the work the UK and US are doing together with G7 partners to support the use of clean and sustainable energy in developing countries through the Just Energy Transition Partnerships.

In tandem with shoring up security of energy supply, the group will also exchange best practice and work on measures to increase energy efficiency and reduce demand for gas. It is already estimated that there could be an 8% reduction in demand for gas in the UK this winter. 

The Joint Action Group will explore policy solutions to enhance this efficiency, building on UK Government initiatives such as the Help to Heat Programme. The initiative pursues innovative energy solutions, such as the decarbonisation of the aerospace industry and development of sustainable aviation fuel technologies, collaborative efforts on electric vehicles, and Energy Smart Appliances.

“We will also continue our close collaboration on Carbon Capture Usage and Storage and progress the Clean Hydrogen Mission. The UK and US are already co-leads of the Hydrogen Breakthrough Agenda, a flagship initiative to push forward clean hydrogen internationally,” the statement concluded.

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