Energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne unveiled the Coalition’s plans to transform the industry through £110bn investment in infrastructure to drive the growth of clean energy in the UK as well as ensuring that consumers get the best possible deal.
The proposals include long term contracts for low carbon generation to make investments in clean energy more appealing and reach goals for renewable energy.
Huhne says: “Without investment in renewables, new nuclear and carbon capture and storage, emissions will remain too high, we will become dependent on energy imports, and increasingly vulnerable to fossil fuel price volatility.
“Low carbon technologies must be given the chance to become the dominant component in our electricity mix.”
EDF Energy says the reforms are “a major step forward for secure, affordable low carbon energy”.
The energy sector has welcomed the proposals as the only way to ensure the industry has a long-term framework to achieve its low-carbon goals. Providers, however, have voiced concerns that the need to bring about the changes and the knock on effects must be made clear to business and consumers.
Volker Beckers, CEO of RWE nPower says: “Npower strongly supports these objectives, but we are keen to ensure they operate cost effectively to safeguard our customers and the UK economy. It’s important that everyone in the UK understands what the energy industry needs to achieve, why it is so urgent, and how it will impact them.”
E.on chief executive Dr Paul Golby says: “We also agree with the Government about the greater role customers will have in terms of adapting – and being rewarded for – their energy usage, which reflects our own approach of empowering our commercial customers to control and optimise their own power use.”
Ofgem, the energy watchdog is currently investigating the utilities market following price rises earlier this year.