“Nuclear is the only way forward” a senior power consultant told an energy meeting this week which looked at ways to decarbonise the UK.
Mark Powell, power and utilities consultant with analyst global KPMG, said the £200bn price tag that has been put on delivering a low-carbon economy is “a mad amount of taxpayers’ money”.
And he said nuclear was the only energy currency to meet this mammoth investment.
Other speakers at The Energy Forum in London suggested a mix of energy sources was the only way to deliver a secure supply to UK homes and businesses.
Nick Horler, who quit as chief executive of Scottish Power the day after the forum, said: “To meet energy supply we need a diverse variety of energy sources”.
Energy Minister Charles Hendry opened proceedings by looking to the future: “We have to put our mindsets beyond 2020.”
Richard Budge of Powerfuel argued that a reliance on coal energies had to be kept due to its natural abundance. With a global energy demand growing daily he said: “We want an economic policy to create lower costs”.
Andy Kinsella, chief executive of Mainstream Renewable Power, said: “There is room for all of these technologies as we go forward” but insisted that renewables needed more time and money. “There will be breakthroughs. The next generation of wind turbines will surprise people.”
Mr Kinsella heightened the potential of renewables by stating that “150,000 jobs would be created in Offshore wind by 2020”.
The way in which we approach our energy demands was a popular topic also, with smart grids forming an integral talking point. Mr Hendry said: “Consumers are ready for smart grids”, while Mr Horler added: “Smart metering will be revolutionary”.
A clearer framework seems to be what industries need to progress British energies into the realities of the future. Mr Hendry said: “A new market structure is needed to deliver these goals” and he promised that a white paper would be released early next year to deal with the UK’s energy future.”
Mr Powell’s advocacy of nuclear echoed calls made at the Labour and Conservative party conferences.
Last week in Birmingham, the former head of the UK Atomic Energy Authority Lady Barbara Judge said that nuclear was the only kind of energy that fulfilled the three essential criteria for a 21st century energy solution: security, independence and climate change.
And at a Labour Party fringe meeting, Stephen Glaister, professor of transport and infrastructure at Imperial College London, said the “only way to cut emissions is nuclear power”.