UK draft energy bill backs wind and nuclear power
22 May 2012
Posted by John Bull
Companies generating nuclear and renewable energy, in particular offshore wind power, will be able to claim subsidies if new proposed legislation is passed.
The Government has unveiled its draft energy bill, which is aimed at pushing down greenhouse gas emissions produced by the UK in order to meet EU goals of cutting carbon by 20 per cent compared with 1990 levels by 2020.
It is focused on cleaner power sources, with an estimated £110 billion in investment required cover the next decade to replace the one-fifth of existing generating capacity due to come offline and ensure low-carbon electricity is produced in the future.
According to Edward Davey, the Energy Secretary, the plans will "ensure security of supply for the long term, reduce the volatility of energy bills by reducing our reliance on imported gas and oil, and meet our climate change goals by largely decarbonising the power sector during the 2030s".
He warned that blackouts could occur and energy prices spiral if preparations are not put in place to reduce Britain's reliance on overseas oil and gas supplies and cope with predicted rises in electricity demand during the coming decades.
The draft legislation proposes a new system of incentives for energy generating companies that will provide them with stable returns based on a fixed price for the life of a development rather than leaving them exposed to volatility in power markets.
Estimates from the Department of Energy and Climate Change indicate the planned reforms could reduce average electricity bills by four per cent during the next 20 years.
However, some groups have hit out at the proposals, with uSwitch.com Director of Energy, Lucy Darch, claiming consumers must not be forgotten in plans for the future, as affordability is becoming a key concern and many household budgets are strained.
Additionally, Friends of the Earth hit out at the focus on nuclear power in the draft energy bill, with Paul Steedman, the charity's Senior Energy Campaigner, declaring further action to prevent heat loss from buildings and renewable energy investment is required to meet future needs.