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A cabinet minister has rejected calls for the UK to consider power rationing as a plan to dramatically increase onshore wind power also appeared to be drastically scaled back.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had been a “massive wake-up call” for Western countries over their reliance on imported oil and gas, including European countries are now trying to wean themselves off.

However, Shapps said the UK would not follow the example of other countries, such as Germany, which have put in place emergency measures to ration gas if Russia cuts supplies to the EU. Europe.

An international row is escalating over Russia’s demand that from April 1 all gas purchased by foreign countries must be paid for in rubles – a move the G7 countries have rejected.

According to Reuters, the Dutch government said it would urge consumers to use less gas, Greece called an emergency supplier meeting and France’s energy regulator urged consumers not to panic.

Labour’s shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds said fuel rationing “should be an extreme option”.

“We should be making these plans and the government should be preparing – not necessarily in public – for this situation,” he told the BBC’s Sunday morning show.

After Prime Minister Boris Johnson flew to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to urge oil-producing countries in the Middle East to turn on the taps, Reynolds said the government should not “buy oil.” ‘one authoritarian regime to another for fossil fuels’. ”.

He called for the long-delayed energy security strategy to be released with a particular focus on generating more renewable and nuclear energy, as well as improving energy efficiency.

Reynolds also said there was “a lot of complacency in this country about the relatively lower exposure to Russian gas that we have”, warning that if European countries stopped importing it, they would turn to the same suppliers than those used by the UK, which would further reduce supply. and keep prices high.

But when asked if he could completely rule out energy rationing in the UK, Shapps replied: “Yes, I can… We don’t think rationing is part of our approach to this. subject, nor should it be so.”

Shapps instead raised the prospect of generating more offshore wind power, although he appeared to backtrack on his plans to double the amount of onshore wind power by 2030.

The Guardian reported last month that ministers plan to dramatically increase the amount of energy produced by onshore wind turbines by the end of the decade from 14 gigawatts to 30.

Johnson was heading for a showdown with his own cabinet and backbenchers, but Shapps’ public disapproval will be taken as a sign the government is preparing to back down.

Shapps said there “may be places where it’s appropriate”, but he thought “overall, I think it’s best to build a large wind power offshore”.

Earlier, he told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge program on Sunday: ‘I am not in favor of a major increase in onshore wind farms for fairly obvious reasons. They sit on the hills there and can create a kind of visual nuisance for communities as well as real noise issues.

Instead, Shapps said he was in favor of modular nuclear reactors.

This follows Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng telling the Sunday Telegraph that up to seven nuclear power stations could be built in Britain to radically develop local energy.

The UK’s new energy security strategy is due to be published on Thursday.

In a bid to smooth over cabinet divisions over the planned dramatic increase in onshore wind, No 10 said any decision “will always be subject to the consent of local communities”.

However, a senior energy industry source told the Guardian they believe the antipathy towards onshore wind stems from “a small but determined group of rear MPs. -ban and felt ideological rather than logical”.

“Local MPs will justify building houses, if they see it is in the national interest, even in places where they think there is local opposition,” they said. “Often trade-offs are made or people are rewarded for having the infrastructure, but the houses are built. is not vital – then it is.

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