Energy Secretary Ed Davey yesterday denied there was any uncertainty over plans for new nuclear power and admitted the Government has had some “false starts” with a couple of its carbon cutting policies.
The future of nuclear in the UK has appeared to hinge on whether the Government gives suppliers enough financial support in the form of a ‘strike price’, as in a guaranteed price for low carbon energy. It is currently grappling with EDF Energy about what level this will be. Recent reports suggest the Treasury is considering writing a guarantee for nuclear power with taxpayers’ cash. A decision on the strike price is long overdue.
Giving evidence at a Lords hearing of the EU sub-committee on energy and environment, Mr Davey was asked if uncertainty over nuclear was pushing more focus on other sources of energy like shale gas and CCS technology.
He replied: “No, the uncertainty on nuclear isn’t there, certainly not from where I’m sitting. We’re engaged in, I think, a very ambitious nuclear position and I know our friends in the media want to comment on everything and say it’s all going wrong but it’s not.”
He also admitted the UK has seen a “few false starts” with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology – which is seen as key for the future of using fossil fuels for power.
The Government was criticised for the collapse of a CCS project at Longannet coal station two years ago and has recycled the funds earmarked for it.
Mr Davey told the Lords the UK has “one of the most attractive packages” for CCS, with £1billion available should the Government sign any contracts with applicants for the cash, he suggested the technology has a “global element” which shouldn’t be ignored.