The UK must increase current amounts of gas storage to reduce the impact of energy price spikes, as part of efforts to secure supplies and keep the lights on, MPs have urged.
A report by the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee warned that the UK can only store 14 days of gas supply, compared to France’s 87 days and Germany’s 69 days of supplies, and should double storage capacity by 2020.
The committee criticised the Government for making an “opportunistic raid” on UK continental shelf oil and gas producers with a £2 billion levy in the 2011 Budget, warning such actions could damage investor confidence in home-grown fossil fuel production.
However, the report on energy security said decreasing supplies from UK offshore oil and gas fields would not threaten the UK, as long as the Government has a strategy for ensuring diverse sources of power that does not rely too much on fossil fuels from unstable parts of the world or one technology at home.
The report said new electricity generation currently planned or being built would fill the looming “gap” in the power system as ageing plants close up to 2018.
But the MPs called for more efforts to promote greater energy efficiency in order to reduce demand, and warned the Government against relying on power companies to deliver the message on saving energy as consumers did not trust them.