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Energy Independence & Energy Security

More in Common: Oil & gas are no longer seen as reliable energy sources

19 September 2023

For a long time, an argument made in favour of fossil fuels (and against supposedly ‘intermittent’ renewables) was that oil and gas could provide a secure, reliable source of energy.

But as familiarity with renewables (and confidence in them) has increased, so have perceptions of the reliability of solar and wind power. At the same time, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the instability that subsequently rippled through the global energy system, doubts are growing among the public that oil and gas are in fact secure, reliable sources of energy.

This is a significant shift – and could be what ultimately underpins a faster transition away from oil and gas. At a time of global insecurity, energy sources that can provide reliable (and ‘hoegrown’) energy become even more attractive. As Luke Tryl, UK Director at More in Common writes, message testing is showing renewables, not oil and gas, winning out in terms of being a secure and reliable source of energy:

There has been a shift in how we view energy security towards renewables – message testing on anti-oil and gas arguments finds strong support for the idea they’re getting more expensive – & particularly for Loyal Nationals (Red Wall voters) the dependence on Putin worries people.

The latest from the Energy Independence & Energy Security timeline:

Policy Insight 28th September 2023

Labour Party confirms plans for GB Energy ahead of 2023 conference

The Labour Party has pledged to create Great British Energy, a new, publicly-owned clean energy company to make the UK ‘energy independent’ and deliver 100% clean energy by 2030.

  • Source: The Labour Party
  • Date: 28th September 2023
Opinion Insight 27th September 2023

YouGov: There is a generational divide in support for more oil and gas extraction

Polling by YouGov on behalf of Global Witness shows a lack of support for fossil fuel production, and a clear age gap in perspectives on oil and gas extraction.

  • Only 8% think increasing fossil fuel production is the best way to increase energy security.
  • Just 10% believe more oil, gas and coal is the best way to reduce energy bills.
  • 42% overall would prefer to wind down North Sea oil and gas production, compared with 33% preferring to exploit all economically viable supplies
  • Among those aged 50-64, support for oil and gas extraction was at 39%, and this was higher at 57% in the 65-plus age group.
  • Support for oil and gas extraction was much weaker among younger generations, with only 17% of 18 to 24-year-olds and 21% of 24 to 49-year-olds backing this option.

Depending on which party (Labour or the Conservatives) is in power after the 2024 election, demographic differences like this may become even more prominent: a Labour government that secured the support of younger voters might be in a position to move significantly faster in terms of the social license to phase out oil and gas drilling in the North Sea.


  • Source: The Independent
  • Author: Rebecca Speare-Cole
  • Date: 27th September 2023
Opinion Insight 25th September 2023

Ipsos polling: Renewable energy infrastructure is a priority for Britons

Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind are among the most popular forms of energy generation among Britons. Among energy sources, solar and wind are regarded as producing the lowest emissions, and having the greatest impact when it comes to tackling climate change.

Ipsos polling shows that Britons feel split about the current quality of renewable energy infrastructure in the UK (solar/wind), with 48% rating it as very/fairly good, and 39% rating it as very/fairly poor. 

The majority (70%) feel that infrastructure in Britain has not been adapted enough to cope with future changes in climate, and 65% of Britons feel that infrastructure isn’t being built quickly enough. Britons are also less resistant to increasing spending on infrastructure than citizens of other countries, even if it means higher taxes or more government borrowing. According to the public, solar energy infrastructure should be among the highest priorities for Britain’s investment (40%). 

In fact, a separate poll by Ipsos shows that renewable energy features highly among the priorities for Britain, with wind and solar featuring as one of the top five “most in need of improvement” areas of Britain’s infrastructure, alongside roads, schools, hospitals, courthouses, as well as housing, and water supply/sewerage.

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