The gas industry received some welcome news last week as Energy and Climate Change secretary Ed Davey revealed plans to The Guardian to build 20 new gas-fired power plants. Should the plans go ahead it will see the biggest construction in the UK’s power sector for decades.
The news is Ed Davey’s clearest indication yet that he thinks gas will continue to be one of the major energy sources in the UK. The announcement of the new power plants comes ahead of an expected new gas strategy for autumn, in which the government hopes to boost the consumption of the fossil fuel. The new gas-fired plants are a clear step to reach the government’s target to increase the electricity generation capacity from gas by 20 GW between now and 2030.
However, the new plants would deal a serious blow to the renewable energy sector and environmental groups have been expressing their concerns over the plans, arguing that they risk pushing carbon targets away and deterring investment in renewables.
Ed Davey told The Guardian that the UK’s energy future is not a competition between renewable and gas. He supports the decarbonising of the electricity sector, aiming to achieve carbon-free power by 2030. A clear indication that the plants, which will have a useful life of around 25years, will be fitted with the latest Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology either during construction or as a subsequent addition.