Neither I nor anyone in government wants to avoid our legally binding targets to cut the UK’s carbon emissions. (‘Dash for gas to take heat off fuel prices’, 12 October). The opposite is in fact the case – I am making the case in Government for a new, interim target to limit carbon emissions from the electricity sector by 2030 to give investors certainty about the Government’s commitment to cleaning up the grid. As I made clear in the interview, the power sector needs to be decarbonised, we have almost all of the technologies already, and it’s an enabler for cleaning up transport and heating.
Nor have I said I want a “dash for gas” to reduce energy bills, particularly since an excessive reliance on gas would only serve to perpetuate the vulnerability of householders to volatile global gas prices. It’s true that we need new gas plant to keep the lights on as our older, much dirtier, coal plants close. This is entirely consistent with decarbonising the power sector by 2030; because gas can have a long term role with carbon capture and technology and increasingly be back up (if unabated) for intermittent renewables and nuclear in the 2030s and 2040s. At the same time, our market reforms will incentivise a diversification of the energy mix, increasing the share of energy produced at home and keeping us on track to meet our binding carbon targets.
Sent by Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to The Times, 12 October 2012.