A week ago Chancellor George Osborne announced new tax breaks for shale gas and plans to develop as much as 37GW of new capacity.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has just released a report which advises that by concentrating on a ‘dash for gas’ rather than renewable energy, future energy bills could increase by £600 by 2050.
The report states that since 2004 gas prices have been accountable for 64% of energy bill rises, whereas low carbon policies and energy efficiency improvements have accounted for less than 10%. By 2020 it is estimated that low-carbon technologies will add an extra £100 to energy bills, but then that figure will quickly fall as the technologies mature and become more efficient.
Some green groups have said that this information should ask serious questions about the government’s plans to build a large number of new gas-fired power plants.
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Lord Deben, the chairman of the CCC, said that the report highlights the benefits of investing in low-carbon technologies, and that it “provides a portfolio of energy sources as insurance against the risk of high gas prices. It lessens the impact on household bills in the long term and enhances the competitiveness of UK industry.”
The Department of Energy and Climate Change, has stated that the government has found similar results in its own analysis, yet they also claim that natural gas still has a vital role to play. “We know that the wholesale price of gas has been a major factor in recent energy price increases. The best insurance against energy price rises is a diverse energy mix that includes renewables, new nuclear and CCS, alongside a continuing role for gas.”
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com