A study carried out by the Global Sustainability Institute has found that in five years the UK will no longer have access to local sources of coal, gas and oil.
If accurate, these figures suggest the UK will have to rely heavily on energy imports from countries such as Russia and Saudi Arabia. This strategy could result in increased price volatility and leave the UK susceptible to energy price rises due to events such as the current situation in Ukraine.
The report does not take into account the potential fossil fuel reserves the UK may be able to access using hydraulic fracturing also known as fracking.
Many European nations face similar challenge
According to the Global Sustainability Institute, the UK has 5 years of oil left, 4.5 of coal and just three of gas, based on current consumption levels. France has less than 12 months left of all three.
In this context, the institute’s Professor Victor Anderson called for a Europe-wide push for renewable energy sources, including wind, solar and tidal.
In the UK, ministers seem to be pinning their hopes on shale gas extraction via fracking, as key to ensuring the country maintains a certain level of energy independence.
A need for renewable alternatives
Speaking on the report Professor Anderson said: “Coal, oil and gas resources in Europe are running down and we need alternatives.
“The UK urgently needs to be part of a Europe-wide drive to expand renewable energy sources such as wave, wind, tidal, and solar power.”
Report dismissed as ‘nonsense’
A spokesperson for the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) was quick to rebute the report’s claims.
“The UK is one of the most energy secure countries in the world thanks to the combination of our own reserves, our diverse sources of imported energy and our focus on increasing clean, home-grown energy in the UK – which includes nuclear, renewables and carbon capture and storage.
“As well as attracting record investment into our energy security since 2010, the UK is leading globally on energy security, particularly through the G7 which has agreed to take global action to improve energy security, and in getting a deal in the EU to cut carbon emissions by 40% by 2030.”