Energy experts urge Amber Rudd to embrace variety after pro-gas speech

The energy industry has today urged Amber Rudd to remain opened-minded following her announcement that gas will be “central to our energy secure future”.   

In a speech this morning, the Energy Secretary said: “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…

“In the next 10 years, it’s imperative that we get new gas-fired power stations built.”

However, experts have suggested that all options must be considered to ensure that the UK reaches its energy goals.

Highlighting the need to invest in long-term initiatives as well as meeting short-term needs, Energy Technologies Institute Chief Executive, Dr David Clarke, said:

“Whilst today’s announcement recognises the need for urgent action to address near-term energy security needs these actions need to be linked to critical longer term strategic decisions – particularly the requirement for any new gas plant to be capable of being fitted with Carbon Capture and Storage technology at a future date.

“CCS is the key economic game changer in a move to a UK low carbon energy system, particularly one based heavily on natural gas, and can halve the cost of meeting UK climate change targets. 

Focussing on diversity of supply, Chair of the Institution of Engineering and Technology Energy Policy Panel, Dr Simon Harrison, said: “As fears about our tightening capacity margin and escalating energy costs grow, cost effective and secure energy should rightly stay as a priority alongside tackling climate change.”

“The challenge is to achieve a balance of all three of these energy policy goals – to do so it’s crucial that Britain establishes a long-term energy policy that accommodates a broad mix of capacity types including nuclear, gas, Carbon Capture & Storage, renewables and new forms of capacity like storage, demand side response and smart meters which can help consumers control and reduce their carbon footprint and energy bills at an individual and community level.”

Adding their take on the issue, the Mineral Wool Insulation Manufacturers Association stressed the importance of energy efficiency. 

Executive Director at MIMA, Sarah Kostense-Winterton, said: “We are encouraged to see her focus, quite rightly, targeting ECO on the fuel poor, however we know that we can deliver more than the 1 million energy efficient homes for the Energy Secretary. In fact this is a steep 78% reduction in the number of homes that received support during the last Parliament.

“Let’s see Amber Rudd being more ambitious and let us help her, the Government and UK consumers deliver to keep their bills down and stay warm."