Writing for this week's Redditch Standard (August 4th), Rachel said:
“Generating more home-grown energy to power and heat our homes makes complete sense in the face of higher bills and tyrants weaponizing energy against us. And that’s exactly what this Government is doing.
“Whilst we are a world-leader in renewables and our new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero is focused on getting cheaper, cleaner, more secure sources of energy, I agree with the Prime Minister that we must do more to bolster our energy security.
“Oil and gas will play a pivotal role in our energy security for decades to come and we are better off producing it at home. Anyone telling you anything different isn’t being straight with you.
“The UK, like most major economies, is highly dependent on oil and gas and will be for decades to come. We get 75% of our energy from oil and gas, and according to the Committee on Climate Change, oil and gas will still provide more than half of our energy needs in 2035, and 24% of our energy needs even in a net zero 2050.
"That’s why, to boost our energy security and power more of Britain from Britain, the Government has committed to hundreds of new oil and gas field licences in the North Sea, making sure we’re not reliant on expensive, foreign imports.
“Blocking the production of North Sea oil and gas will increase our dependence on foreign imports and will drive up prices. Labour’s decision to ban new oil and gas licences in the North Sea is dangerous and wrong. It will make us more dependent on expensive foreign imports and put more than 200,000 jobs at risk.
“At the same time, the Government is also investing in Carbon Capture and Storage, delivering on our net zero ambitions while creating 25,000 jobs and driving £10 billion of investment.
“Together this will cut bills, cut emissions, and cut our dependence on foreign imports, safeguarding our long-term energy security.
“And this shouldn’t fuel, pun intended, the false narrative that we’re reneging on net zero. We are a world leader on net zero, cutting our emissions faster than any other G7 country.
“Our investment in renewable energy is creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and delivering more home-grown, clean energy than ever before. In 2022, renewable electricity generation accounted for more than 41% of total electricity generation, a four-fold increase since 2010, and we are home to the four largest offshore wind farms in the world.
“Like many things in life, we can do more than one thing at once. We can take action to bolster our energy security whilst at the same time continue on our path to net zero by 2050.”