Natural gas is the solution for a low carbon future, according to the head of Centrica.
The energy supplier’s CEO Sam Laidlaw told the UK Energy Summit that gas was cleaner than coal and cheaper than nuclear or renewable energy.
Mr Laidlaw said: “Gas-fired generation emits around half the carbon of coal-fired plants and the capital costs of developing new gas capacity are much lower than those for new nuclear or wind.
“Gas is often forgotten in the decarbonisation debate. According to a recent study by EGAF, Europe could achieve its greenhouse gas emission targets and save 500 billion Euros in power system costs by 2030, if gas is allowed to play a larger role alongside renewables and nuclear power.”
But the charity WWF has argued that a reliance on gas is short sighted and would fail to create new opportunity for green businesses.
Nick Molho, WWF-UK Head of Energy Policy said: “By relying on gas now and failing to support the commercial deployment of a wide range of renewable technologies, including offshore wind, in the current decade, the UK will find itself by 2020 in a situation where it has little or no zero-carbon technologies that can be deployed on a large commercial scale to substantially decarbonise its power sector.
“This would be a wasted opportunity for UK business, which can clearly lead the world in marine renewable technologies, and would have dramatic consequences in the UK’s contribution to tackling climate change.”