Chris McDonald, the Chief Executive of Teesside-based research and innovations centre, the Materials Processing Institute, is calling for the UK to become self-sufficient in energy production.
Reacting to the current energy price crisis, he said: “This country is too reliant on importing gas and electricity from other countries, and this current crisis highlights the importance of taking control of and guaranteeing our future energy supplies.
“The UK must also invest in renewables, either offshore wind or nuclear, which can be used to produce hydrogen to enable the decarbonisation of the gas network.
“Such a green energy policy will not only support the steel sector, but many other industries, by attracting investment – because what investors demand is a surety of energy supply.”
The dangers of the UK’s reliance on offshore power imports were highlighted last week when a fire hit the interconnector used to transfer electricity from France to Britain – resulting in a 19 percent hike in energy prices, already exacerbated by low wind supply and high gas prices.
Chris added: “The availability and cost of our energy impacts on every part of our lives and the economy.
“We have already seen several energy firms fail due to the high cost of gas, while CF Fertilisers halted work at their plants on Teesside and Cheshire. They produce 60 percent of the UK’s carbon dioxide, which is used across the drinks and meat industries, as well in the production of dry ice, used to keep food fresh for storage and transportation.
“The UK urgently needs to secure its domestic green energy supplies, and in doing so can make a major contribution to achieving its net zero target.”