Chris Huhne MP writes: Electricity market reform: keeping the lights on in the cheapest, cleanest way
• [Jul 20] Chris Huhne*: LAST week I unveiled the coalition government's proposals for the most radical reform of the electricity market since privatisation in the 1980s. The plans set out in the White Paper aim to keep the UK's lights on and consumer bills down and shift the economy away from a high-risk, high-carbon future.
With a quarter of the UK's generating capacity shutting down over the next ten years, as old coal and nuclear power stations close, it's clear that we have a Herculean task ahead of us. Over the next ten years, more than £110bn in investment is needed to build the equivalent of twenty large power stations and upgrade the grid - more than twice the rate of the last decade . .
After a wide consultation, I believe our reforms represent the best deal for Britain. They will get us off the hook of relying so heavily on imported fossil fuels by creating a greener, cleaner and potentially cheaper mix of electricity sources here in the UK. A new generation of power sources, including low-carbon generation and carbon capture and storage, along with new gas plants to provide flexibility and back-up capacity, will secure our electricity supply as well as bringing new jobs and new expertise to the UK economy.
This package will keep the lights on and bills down. It will insure us against shocks from volatile parts of the world like Libya, and end the dithering about our need for new electricity plant.
* Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and MP for Eastleigh