ENERGY policy is no longer just about keeping the lights on.

Even before the war in Ukraine sadly threw energy security into focus, energy policy held huge political capital – with the SNP placing the need to reach net zero as a key pillar of its ideology while the Tories have billed themselves as fossil fuels fanatics.

The UK Government’s new strategy is big on scale – huge amounts of renewables and nuclear production are planned – but the vision has failed to set out how it will crucially reduce demand for energy in the coming years, key to cutting fuel costs while we still rely on gas central heating.

What is clear from the blueprint is that there are key business and economic decisions being made – none more obvious than allowing the North Sea oil and gas sector to expand, announced just three days after the UN warned a rapid shift away from fossil fuels is needed to keep climate targets within reach.

Despite the desperate attempts to spin the narrative from both sides, it is clear that the UK and Scottish governments are near enough aligned on what to do with the North Sea oil and gas sector in the coming decades.

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Both understand the economic risk of demolishing the industry too quickly. The Tories are intent on speaking to the workforce in the north east, while the SNP are playing to the wider crowd on environmental harm and the need for things to change.

Siccar Point Energy, the company behind the controversial North Sea plans at Cambo, acknowledges that the first oil will not be expected to emerge until three years after drilling begins.

To suggest that ramping up drilling in the North Sea will magically end our reliance on importing fossil fuels in the short-term is foolish – as is believing the risky move will have any impact on skyrocketing energy bills with wholesale prices part of a global market.

The majority of the oil produced at Cambo will also likely be shipped overseas – so an acknowledgement is needed that this and potentially other North Sea expansion projects are primarily a business decision.

The UK Government’s blueprint boasts an ambition to build eight new nuclear power plants in quick succession.

But the first nuclear power station to be built in the UK in some 20 year, Hinkley Point C in Somerset, has seen costs for the 10-year construction project soar from £18 billion to around £23 billion.

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UK ministers can point to nuclear power as a convenient low carbon technology to plug a gap in the energy mix in the coming years – but it is not cheap.

And that is important.

Because, the energy strategy published yesterday, does not actually commit to these new nuclear facilities being built anytime soon. Instead it leaves the door open to the next government after the next general election to push ahead with the astronomically-pricey strategy amid other commitments and priorities.

The Government says it will “drive down costs by building at scale over the next 30 years”.

But out of the eight headline nuclear projects, the Government will only take a final investment decision on one facility before the next general election – passing off two potential facilities to the next occupant of Downing Street.

Long-term, the Government wants to “deliver the equivalent of one reactor a year rather than one a decade”, but just think of the eye-watering costs.

The Scottish Government is opposed to nuclear power “under current technology” – which it insists includes small modular reactors. SNP ministers will continue to block developments in Scotland through its ability to veto applications through planning rules.

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But it is inescapable that with Scotland part of Britain’s energy grid, a new generation of nuclear power produced down south could power Scotland.

The ambition of the UK Government to scale up offshore wind cannot be disputed and is due credit for the scale – with a whopping 50GW target by 2030.

But other parts of the strategy are glaringly missing.

Solar has been classed alongside “other technologies” while tidal, which the Scottish Government has ambitions to transform into a key industry, is barely given footnote status – with a pledge to “aggressively explore" opportunities outside of wind turbines.

But the biggest missing piece of the jigsaw is any joined-up thinking to reduce energy demand.

The soaring costs of heating our homes has put energy efficiency in the spotlight. The UK is lagging way behind in properly insulating homes. The Scottish Government has predicted that an alarming £33bn will be needed to upgrade homes – with the majority of funding expected to come from Westminster and the private sector.

Rather than scaling up oil and gas exploration or planning multiple nuclear power fortresses to be built, better insulated homes can be achieved relatively quickly, while it can have a pretty instant impact on fuel bills. That feels like a huge missed chance.