Centre for Energy Ethics Research Fellow, Dr Sean Field, joined BBC radio host Sally Pepper live on Wednesday 16 March to discuss the UK’s energy crisis.  Discussing the crisis and what options the UK has to address it in the immediate term – from ‘fracking’ in the UK, to North Sea hydrocarbons and oil imports from Saudi Arabia – Sean remarked:

“Right now, the UK is faced with a major predicament…  The UK is dependent on natural gas.  Most houses depend on natural gas for heat, and a large percentage of electricity is generated from natural gas and there is no viable substitute…. The question is: where do you get it?….  This is a major ethical question facing the UK…. It probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to ‘frack’ in the UK, both economically and socially.  But in the very short term, if the UK is looking to plug the gap in Russian oil that we’re weaning off of, the UK has to look for immediate solutions. And so, that might mean getting it from elsewhere or looking to the North Sea.”

“One of the major places where the UK has been caught out here, is that we have really underinvested in infrastructure, energy infrastructure, that can be used for natural gas now and perhaps hydrogen or biofuel in the next few years as we transition away from fossil fuels.”

“There is actually really no energy supply crisis.  It’s an energy price crisis…   And so, the question is, not whether we are going to run out of energy, but rather at what cost. So that is the major issue, and that is where the government needs to step in to protect households, because its not a supply issue but a cost issue.”

The full 8-minute BBC interview can be heard here (2:18:20 – 2:26:20): 

Sean is also working on a series of short articles for The Energy Blog on UK’s energy crisis.  Read part one here