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Technology & Innovation

The U.K.’s Gas Dilemma

Building more gas power plants (rather than nuclear ones, for instance) could see UK consumers paying more for energy or miss its 2020 carbon targets, a think tank warns. 

What’s the Latest Development?

Building more gas plants would not necessarily be ‘greener’, nor might it go down well with consumers, the U.K.’s Green Alliance warns. While the UK’s first “dash for gas”, in the 90s, reduced both carbon emissions and electricity prices, that isn’t likely to be repeated, it says. The initial push involved power generation switching from higher-polluting coal to gas. But the UK now has a slew of new gas plants being built or planned that might need to be retro-fitted with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to meet emissions-reduction targets. The extra cost of this would be passed onto consumers.

What’s the Big Idea?

Matthew Spencer, director of Green Alliance, says the government needs to rethink the role of gas. “It’s not in the UK’s national interest to have a second dash for gas in this new carbon-constrained era. It will impose higher overall costs on the UK economy if the Government consents to too many gas plants in the wrong place and doesn’t incentivise carbon capture and storage on gas.”


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