Thursday, 23 June 2011

We have a year to make a low-carbon future happen

We are rapidly approaching a tipping point in the energy story of this country. Eight years ago, the UK was self-sufficient in gas. Today we're importing about 50pc of our needs and that proportion will rise to 75pc by 2020.

In the power sector too, the facts of life are equally stark. All but one of the UK's existing nuclear plants are due to be shut down by 2023 and nearly one third of the UK's coal-fired plants are set to close in under five years' time.

By 2020, 30pc of the existing generation fleet will be gone.

Three forces are coming together – our growing dependence on an increasingly volatile world market; our commitment to make serious cuts in carbon emissions; and our obligation as a society to ensure that energy remains affordable. It is going to be exceedingly difficult to reconcile these three forces as we build the energy market of the future.

There is also a risk that society is not being realistic about the path ahead.

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