Groans greet publication of draft Energy Bill
Published:  22 May, 2012

LONDON: The Government's draft Energy Bill, launched today, is aimed at encouraging major investment in cleaner energy generation. But it may mean higher consumer bills, say critics.

Ed Davey, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said bills would be even higher if the new measures were not introduced.

The draft Energy Bill outlines reforms to the energy market which the Government says will encourage investors to put their money into a lower-carbon energy future. The Government needs to increase energy capacity to recoup the lack of energy produced by the closure of coal and nuclear plants and to also reduce the UK's reliance on imported gas.

Around one-fifth of the country's exisiting electricity generation is due to close over the next decade, Mr Davey explained.

In order for the UK to meet its obligations under EU directives, some 30% of the country's electricity should be generated from renewable sources by 2020.

Although the Government has provided some detail of the framework, the industry will still have to wait until 2013 in order to be able to calculate the viability of future biomass power plants, wind farms or nuclear reactors.

The Government does not wish to rush its conclusions but, it was pointed out at the meeting, there are billions of pounds of investment waiting for a decision to be made.

Consumer Focus said the Government had to "walk a fine line" between securing the UK's energy supply, meeting carbon reduction targets and keeping down the cost to consumers.

Undeterred, Mr Davey said: "What we want is a market structure that helps keep the lights on. The real challenge for the UK is energy security."

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