Energy Secretary Ed Davey said gas is not an easy solution to help meet the UK’s energy challenges.
He made the comment earlier this week at a CBI meeting about the Energy Bill and the Electricity Market Reform (EMR).
Speaking at the event, he said: “Gas is a key part of our energy economy and will remain so for the foreseeable future. But we should think carefully before buying the argument that says we can achieve our aims simply by switching to gas.”
Mr Davey said although gas is much cleaner than coal, it still has a carbon impact. He cautioned gas price are volatile as it rose by 40% last year and will either remain high or go higher.
He added: “Yes, prices can go down, as well as up. And yes, unconventional gas can make a difference, although perhaps not as big a difference as some sections of the press would have me believe.”
Referring to the Energy Bill, the Energy Secretary said he wanted to “knock down the myth” that the reforms were unnecessary “because a global glut of cheap gas will solve our investment and carbon problems”.
He stressed that although gas will play a key role in meeting the nation’s energy security, it will be in conjunction with renewables, nuclear and other low carbon sources and not instead of them.
Mr Davey also noted analysts think shale gas extraction in Europe will be more expensive than in the US and won’t be accessible at scale until the end of this decade.
He said he also wanted to get rid of other “myths”, which included how complicated the Energy Bill is, that it is a nuclear subsidy in disguise and it would only make the Big Six bigger.