NEW North Sea oil and gas licensing will begin this autumn as the UK sets out a vision to "generate and produce" more home-grown energy –with renewables, nuclear power and hydrogen all set to be ramped up.

The blueprint will include an ambition to generate up to 50GW of energy from offshore wind – more than enough to power every home in the UK, including up to 5GW from floating offshore wind.

A licensing round for new North Sea oil and gas projects will be launched this autumn, with ministers keen to claim that domestic oil and gas is better for the climate than imported fuels.

A new taskforce will provide bespoke support to new developments.

Speaking ahead of unveiling his new strategy, UK Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the vision would include “more wind, more solar, more nuclear, more hydrogen – while maximising North Sea production”.

READ MORE: IPCC report: Rapid reductions needed in North Sea oil and gas use to avert climate crisis

He added that the strategy is the UK Government’s “plan for greater energy independence”, stressing that “we’re going to generate and produce more energy in Britain”.

Mr Kwarteng will signal the approval of new North Sea oil and gas licences to begin later this year – despite a gloomy UN report on Monday stressing the need for a rapid shift away from fossil fuels for climate targets to remain realistic.

He said: “We have seen record high gas prices around the world. We need to protect ourselves from price spikes in the future by accelerating our move towards cleaner, cheaper, home-grown energy.

“The simple truth is that the more cheap, clean power we generate within our borders, the less exposed we will be to eye watering fossil fuel prices set by global markets we can’t control.

“Scaling up cheap renewables and new nuclear, while maximising North Sea production, is the best and only way to ensure our energy independence over the coming years."

The delayed strategy will see a significant acceleration of nuclear, with an ambition of up to 24GW generated by 2050 to come from the source.

READ MORE: Scotland prepared for green electricity revolution ahead of new UK energy strategy

The Scottish Government opposes nuclear power and despite energy reserved to Westminster, SNP ministers can essentially veto nuclear developments though planning rules.

Tory ministers want their nuclear strategy to include full-scale nuclear plants and a new generation of smaller reactors.

As well as offshore wind power and energy from nuclear being ramped up by UK ministers, plans to produce low carbon hydrogen will be boosted from 5GW to 10GW – a key ask of the Scottish Government.

Last year, the Scottish Government indicated it would put pressure on UK ministers to “accelerate” the development of clean hydrogen – pinned as a crucial part of Scotland’s strategy to transform the economy away from a reliance on fossil fuels.

READ MORE: SNP to demand UK Government accelerates hydrogen development

But focus could be put on the bridging blue hydrogen, which uses natural gas and, evidence suggests it could be more polluting than burning coal.

The statutory advisers to both the UK and Scottish governments, the Climate Change Committee (CCC), has told Tory ministers in Westminster that a planned climate compatibility checkpoint for new North Sea oil and gas developments should be expanded to cover projects that have obtained initial licences, such as the contentious plans for Cambo near Shetland.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon shares the CCC’s view that the Cambo proposals should be scrutinised for their contribution to the climate crisis.

READ MORE: Tory MSP criticised for incorrect claim Cambo oil field part of net zero plans

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We’re setting out bold plans to scale up and accelerate affordable, clean and secure energy made in Britain, for Britain – from new nuclear to offshore wind – in the decade ahead.

“This will reduce our dependence on power sources exposed to volatile international prices we cannot control, so we can enjoy greater energy self-sufficiency with cheaper bills.”

Scottish Greens co-leader and Scottish  Government minister, Patrick Harvie, said: "The UK Government looks set to back energy policies which are expensive, slow, and high carbon, while ignoring the cheapest, quickest and greenest solutions like energy efficiency, zero-emission heating systems, and onshore wind."

Ed Miliband, Labour's  climate change spokesperson, said the energy strategy was “in disarray”, claiming the UK Governnent has been lobbied hard by Tory MPs to fail to include ramping up onshore wind and solar power.
He added: “Boris Johnson has completely caved to his own backbenchers and now, ludicrously, his own energy strategy has failed on the sprint we needed on onshore wind and solar – the cheapest, cleanest forms of homegrown power".

Lib Dem leader Ed Davey said: “The Conservatives’ failure to help people cut their bills with an urgent energy insulation programme, the failure to back super-cheap onshore wind and the failure to back properly new technologies like tidal power and hydrogen is a total betrayal of families and pensioners across the UK.”