Gas dependency fuels Russia’s war

The failure of the UK Government to insulate homes and build renewable energy infrastructure during the last decades means energy companies will be forced to spend billions on Russian gas imports this year – potentially helping to fund its war in Ukraine.

The UK imported almost 34 Terawatt-hours (TWh) of Russian LNG in 2021 – despite there being almost no such imports as recently as 2017.  Current Russian imports equate to about seven percent of total imports, and about four percent of UK gas demand.

This means the UK will be spending £2.3 billion on Russian gas this year – or £6.3million per day – if buying at today’s wholesale gas price of c.200p/therm (about £68/MWh).

Household

Dr Simon Cran-McGreehin, head of analysis at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) in London said: “The UK has been spending billions of pounds on Russian gas that could now be being used to fund Putin’s war in Ukraine. 

“This is another reason why the UK needs to break its dependency on gas and insulating our homes, deploying electric heat pumps and shifting from gas power stations to renewables is the way to do it.”

British Gas owner Centrica is in talks to exit its supply deals with Russian gas firm Gazprom “as a matter of urgency.”

Wholesale gas price rises are driving the vast majority of energy bill hikes, with gas directly adding at least £500 to the average bill under April’s new price cap, and a further £68 due to supplier collapses.

If UK homes were upgraded using insulation and other heating efficiency measures, such that the average EPC rating moved from band D to the government’s target of band C, each household would use on average 20 percent less gas, overall UK gas demand would fall by eight percent, and imports could be reduced by 15 percent. 

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Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist. This article is based on a press release from ECIU. 

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