1. ITV Report

Power company welcomes new energy bill

Sizewell nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast Photo: ITV Anglia

Our region's nuclear power and offshore wind farms could put it at the forefront of new Government reforms in the way energy's created.

The nuclear power station at Sizewell coupled with a number of large offshore windfarms off the East Anglian coast means the East is already one of the greenest areas in the UK.

EDF energy, which runs Sizewell, says the new investment framework is crucial for the low carbon investment the country needs.

It confirmed that consultation on the new Sizewell C nuclear power station will start by the end of the year.

I am confident that new nuclear in the UK should and will go ahead. 2012 is defining year for new nuclear – and there is a need to maintain the current momentum. A huge amount remains to be done – but we are determined to do it. We are absolutely focussed on having a viable business case at the end of the year.”

– Vincent de Rivaz, EDF Energy Chief Executive

The new draft energy bill aims to focus on creating clean energy and tackling climate change: but there's a catch, it will put bills up for consumers.

  • The Government says it wants to attract investment of £110 billion on nuclear power and renewables.
  • It wants to put up our annual bills by £160 by 2030.
  • It says if nothing is done they'll go up by £200 anyway.

The Government says the reforms are designed to provide investors with transparency, longevity and certainty in order to attract £110 billion of investment to bring forward new low-carbon power generation for the 21st century.

It came as EDF energy announced it was in talks to keep some nuclear power stations running beyond their expected life, though Sizewell B is already due to run until past 2023.

Over the next decade, it says around a fifth of existing power generating capacity will come off-line, meaning power cuts could affect millions of homes if nothing is done. It also says we need to be less dependent on importing oil and gas from potentially volatile overseas markets.

Demand for electricity will grow by 2050 as it is increasingly used to power our transport and domestic heating.

This leaves the UK with an energy gap which needs to be filled.

The energy Bill - announced in the Queen's Speech earlier this month - is expected to reform the electricity market with long-term contracts that pay a steady rate of return for energy over the lifetime of new low-carbon generators.

It will also introduce an emissions performance standard to prevent construction of new coal plants which produce too much carbon dioxide.

"Leaving the electricity market as it is would not be in the national interest. If we don’t secure investment in our energy infrastructure, we could see the lights going out, consumers hit by spiralling energy prices and dangerous climate change. These reforms will ensure we can keep the lights on, bills down and the air clean."

– Ed Davey MP, Energy Secretary

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