It is the Government's long awaited light bulb moment. The Energy Bill published today envisages changes that would reach into our lives.
By 2020 we will be paying nearly £100 a year more for energy. But whether bills will come down again afterwards is still in dispute.
The coalition will announce plans on updating the energy infrastructure of pylons and power stations, and cutting our reliance on carbon.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey has told Daybreak that Britain needs "billions of pounds of investment in our ageing energy infrastructure."
Environmentalists say the Bill does not go far enough, because it does not include a target to slash carbon emissions from the power sector by 2030.
– Friends of the Earth executive director Andy Atkin
[The lack of a target was] jeopardising green jobs and industry and undermining efforts to tackle energy insecurity and climate change.
George Osborne's fossil-fuelled economic strategy will keep the nation locked into dirty gas for decades - and with experts predicting gas prices will carry on rising, cash-strapped households will be forced to foot the bill.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey believes the spending level for low-carbon power subsidies will allow the UK to meet goals to supply 30% of electricity from renewables by 2020.
Davey also believes that the Bill will fund other low-carbon technology including nuclear and fossil fuel power plants where emissions are captured and stored.
– Energy Secretary Ed Davey
There's a real challenge in this decade because we're going to see lots of power stations coming to the end of their life.
Coal power stations are closing down and nuclear power stations are closing down, so we've got to have a lot more new generation capacity coming on.
Nearly 20% needs to be replaced so we need to make sure the electricity market provides the incentives for people to invest.
The coalition Government is absolutely determined to help cut energy bills for consumers, reduce costs for businesses and bring down our emissions.
We need to make our energy supply fit for the 21st century, and in a world of rising gas prices we must power our homes and businesses in a much more efficient way.
– Energy Secretary Ed Davey
If you look at all our energy policies together with energy efficiency for example and our reforms to tariffs, we believe that people's bills will be lower in 2020 than they otherwise would have been because of the way we're helping people save energy.
- Financial incentives will also be offered to firms and individuals that install more efficient equipment, such as better freezers in supermarkets.
- Firms could also be paid to commit to permanent reductions in their electricity use, and an obligation on energy firms to help secure efficiencies extended to cover business premises.
- Better labelling of products and an awards scheme to highlight firms that use only highly-efficient products are also included in the consultation.
- Officials said any new measures would have to be carefully worked out to avoid undermining any of the existing schemes, such as the Green Deal.
The Energy Bill will allow energy companies to charge households an extra £7.6 billion until 2020, to go towards low-carbon electricity infrastructure.
An estimated £110 billion is needed in the next decade to renew the UK's ageing electricity infrastructure, with much set to go into low-carbon power sources such as wind farms.
Critics say the changes will be paid for by sharp rises in bills but Mr Davey insists state support for low-carbon electricity will cost the average household less than £100 a year.
And he said that he was "absolutely determined" to more than compensate for that by expanding efforts to encourage energy efficiency measures and lower energy demand.
A 10% reduction would save £4 billion in 2030, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) calculates, and reduce carbon emissions equivalent to those of a large city in a year.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey will set out fresh proposals to slash demand for electricity as he publishes a blueprint for energy that critics say will massively increase households bills.
The long-delayed Energy Bill, formally published today, authorises ministers to almost treble investment in "green" power generation to £7.6 billion, up from £2.35 billion this year.
An independent report examining the costs of the Government's new energy efficiency programme, the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, has found it could add £94 to consumer energy bills next year.
The Energy UK report's findings also revealed that the cost of the Department of Energy and Climate Change's energy model is significantly greater than was originally estimated.
– Angela Knight CBE, Chief Executive of Energy UK
The industry has long been concerned that the Department of Energy and Climate Change had underestimated the costs of its new ECO scheme. This independent report by NERA supports our fears as it shows when the right numbers are put in, the cost to households doubles or more. This has to be sorted out now and we are calling on Government to work with us so that customers get the insulation they need in a sensible and cost-effective way. We have also written to consumer groups asking them to come and discuss these findings and help with the solution.
Energy regulator Ofgem has welcomed the Government's energy bill plans, but warned the industry faces an "unprecedented challenge" ahead.
In a statement, the regulator's Senior Partner for Markets, Andrew Wright said:
Ofgem welcomes today’s announcement by DECC on the future of energy policy. We will continue to work constructively with Government to get the best outcome for consumers both now and in the future.
Ofgem has played a key role in advising consumers and Government of the challenges Britain faces in attracting significant investment. In 2009 Project Discovery warned consumers that Britain’s energy industry faced an unprecedented challenge and concluded that changes to the current energy arrangements would be needed to deliver secure and sustainable energy supplies.