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DECC Review: Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Speech

New Direction for UK Energy Policy
DECC Review logo- no strapline

November 2015

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Speech: New Direction for UK Energy Policy

Amber Rudd

 

Today the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd has set out her vision for an energy system that puts consumers first, delivers more competition, reduces the burden on bill-payers and ensures enough electricity generation to power the nation.

We now have an electricity system where no form of power generation, not even gas-fired power stations, can be built without government intervention. And a legacy of ageing, often unreliable plant.

Perversely, even with the huge growth in renewables, our dependence on coal - the dirtiest fossil fuel hasnt been reduced. Indeed a higher proportion of our electricity came from coal in 2014 than in 1999.

So despite intervention we still havent found the right balance.                 

Cleaner, more secure energy network

One of the greatest and most cost-effective contributions we can make to emission reductions in electricity is by replacing coal fired power stations with gas.

I am pleased to announce that we will be launching a consultation in the spring on when to close all unabated coal-fired power stations.  Our consultation will set out proposals to close coal by 2025 - and restrict its use from 2023. If we take this step, we will be one of the first developed countries to deliver on a commitment to take coal off the system.

But let me be clear, well only proceed if were confident that the shift to new gas can be achieved within these timescales".

Central role of nuclear power

Opponents of nuclear misread the science. It is safe and reliable. The challenge, as with other low carbon technologies, is to deliver nuclear power which is low cost as well. Green energy must be cheap energy.

We are dealing with a legacy of under-investment and with Hinkley Point C planning to start generating in the mid-2020s, this is already changing.

It is imperative we do not make the mistakes of the past and just build one nuclear power station.  There are plans for a new fleet of nuclear power stations, including at Wylfa and Moorside.  It also means exploring new opportunities like Small Modular Reactors, which hold the promise of low cost, low carbon energy.

Offshore wind

We should also support the growth of our world leading offshore wind industry.

Today I can announce that if, and only if, the Governments conditions on cost reduction are met we will make funding available for three auctions in this Parliament. We intend to hold the first of these auctions by the end of 2016.

On current plans we expect to see 10GW of offshore wind installed by 2020.

The industry tells us they can meet that challenge, and we will hold them to it. If they dont there will be no subsidy. No more blank cheques.

Climate change

Action on climate change is linked to the action were taking now to reduce the deficit. It is about resilience now and in the future. But climate change is a global problem, not a local one. Action by one state will not solve the problem. Its what we do together that counts. And that is why achieving a global deal in Paris next month is so important.

But climate change will not be solved by a group of over-tired politicians and negotiators in a Conference centre.  It will take action by businesses, civil society, cities, regions and countries.

Paris must deliver that and help unleash the levels of private investment needed.

Our most important task is providing a compelling example to the rest of the world of how to cut carbon while controlling costs.

The full text of the SoS speech can be found here

Notes:

A consultation will be published in the spring on when to close all unabated coal-fired power stations. The consultation will set out proposals to close coal by 2025 and restrict its use from 2023.

 

Contact us corporate.comms@decc.gsi.gov.uk

 Department of Energy and Climate Change

This email was sent to  by GovDelivery, Inc. on behalf of Department of Energy and Climate Change - 3 Whitehall Place, London UK SW1A 2HD - 0300 060 4000


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