Gas power stations vital to prevent blackouts, says Energy Secretary

Posted at March 12, 2024 » By : » Categories : News » Comments Off on Gas power stations vital to prevent blackouts, says Energy Secretary

The Energy Security Secretary, Claire Coutinho, has stressed the necessity of new gas-fired power stations to prevent potential blackouts.

The Energy Secretary’s upcoming speech at Chatham House will underscore the urgent need for infrastructure updates, with existing plants nearing the end of their lifespan.

Despite criticism regarding environmental impact, Ms Coutinho argues that gas stations are essential for reliable backup during low renewable energy periods.

Claire Coutinho said: “There are no two ways about it. Without gas backing up renewables, we face the genuine prospect of blackouts. Other countries in recent years have been so threatened by supply constraints that they have been forced back to coal.

“There are no easy solutions in energy, only trade-offs. If countries are forced to choose between clean energy and keeping citizens safe and warm, believe me they’ll choose to keep the lights on.

“We will not let ourselves be put in that position. And so, as we continue to move towards clean energy, we must be realistic.”

However, opponents claim reliance on gas could hinder carbon emission reduction efforts, endangering the UK’s net zero commitment.

Jess Ralston from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit expresses doubts about the government’s stance, citing concerns over rising energy costs and gas power sustainability without carbon capture.

Jess Ralston said: “The Secretary of State suggesting that if we cannot control energy prices then we are not secure as a country, while announcing new gas power stations, has a real irony about it.

“Anyone paying an energy bill in the past two years knows that the UK doesn’t control the price we pay for gas, that international markets decide.

“The North Sea will continue its inevitable decline with or without new licenses leaving us ever more dependent on foreign gas unless we lower demand. The UK is going backwards on energy security because of the government fumbling its latest auction for British offshore wind farms, failing on its home insulation schemes and dithering on heat pumps.

“Without carbon capture technology, these gas plants may only have a decade or two before they are decommissioned, and who’s going to pay for that?”

Dr Doug Parr, Policy Director at Greenpeace UK, said: “The government’s cunning plan to boost energy security and meet our climate goals is to make Britain more dependent on the very fossil fuel that sent our bills rocketing and the planet’s temperature soaring.

“The only route to a low cost, secure and clean energy system is through attracting massive private investment to develop renewables and upgrade our aging grid, but this government has failed on both fronts.”

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