16 Dec 2010 09:12:02
Chris Huhne outlines low carbon energy measures
Energy secretary Chris Huhne is set to announce a raft of measures to encourage low carbon electricity, amid claims they could lead to major increases in energy bills.
Under the plans, carbon intensive fossil fuels could face a new tax, making them a more expensive option for generators, and an emissions performance standard is due to be introduced preventing development of coal-fired plants without sufficient carbon mitigation measures.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Huhne said: 'These reforms can unlock private investment on an unprecedented scale, and ensure the low-carbon revolution at the lowest cost to consumers.'
He added that currently there is a bias towards investment in gas and said no additional support, like that offered to offshore renewables, will be provided for nuclear development.
To further encourage energy companies to invest in low carbon sources, a guaranteed price for electricity will also be introduced, through a feed-in tariff with long-term contracts.
According to price comparison site uSwitch, the measures could drive up the costs of consumers' energy bills by more than £500 per year, due to the investment required by energy companies.
Earlier this month, the government published its Energy Bill in parliament, setting out a number of measures it intends to take to promote investment in low carbon power and boost energy security.