Thursday, 15 March 2012

9 GW of new gas capacity set to lock UK into high carbon future, warns FoE

Up to nine gigawatts of new gas-fired electricity generation could come on line by 2016, threatening to drive up energy bills and lock the UK into a future of high carbon electricity generation, Friends of the Earth warned today.

In a report looking at how much new gas is set to come into the system over the next decade, Friends of the Earth (FoE) has found that energy firms are planning to build nearly double the number of gas-fired power stations the Government says the UK may need. The green group says unless the Government gets tough on how many emissions these new power stations can emit, it will not hit the recommended targets on emissions reductions for electricity generation, locking the UK into a high carbon future.
According to its own "conservative" estimates, FoE says nine gigawatts (GW) of capacity – enough to power almost nine million homes – could come on line by 2016. This, it says, is nearly twice the additional 4.9GW the Government projects may be needed by 2020.

And in an accompanying briefing document, FoE makes the case that keeping the UK hooked on gas will also prove more expensive for households and businesses. Average gas bills increased by 90 per cent between 2004 and 2010. The UK is now a net importer of gas and increasingly exposed to global fluctuations in the price of gas. The FoE paper, 'Gas Prices: Is The Only Way Up?’, points out that, in two out of three scenarios about future gas prices, the Government estimates gas prices will either be 11 per cent or 51 per cent higher than in 2011.

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