Thursday, 16 December 2010

If Chris Huhne doesn't back renewables, the costs will be even higher

The Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, will outline government plans today to encourage energy companies to develop low-carbon power plants. The BBC reports the government is to guarantee prices for electricity to persuade the private sector to invest in new low-carbon forms of generation. The Daily Telegraph headlines the story £500 on electricity bills to pay for green energy. Mike, our UK Awards Manager, explains

Ultimately, as electricity consumers, we all have to pay for the equipment that generates electricity. As we’re facing a future with rising fossil fuel prices, to build gas or coal power stations because they’re cheap is short-sighted. If we build renewable energy generation capacity, then not only do we not have to pay for fuel imports, we also have better security of supply, and will be closer to meeting out targets on CO2 emissions.

The BBC report is accompanied by a photo of a row of wind turbines out at sea. But as Anne Wheldon, our Senior Adviser, points out.

The extra cost is not just for renewable energy. Much of the extra cost will go to nuclear power, which is included in the new generation of power plants. The BBC reports that nuclear will not receive specific subsidies, but it also mentions that there will be feed-in-tariffs for nuclear. Let's make sure that the main focus is renewable electricity, otherwise we’re trading climate change for the other long-term problem of nuclear waste management.

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