In setting a limit on the amount of CO2 a plant can emit, the Emissions Performance Standard (EPS) is an important backstop designed to prevent new unabated coal-fired power stations being built (“A black Wednesday for the environment?”, 18 March). But it is not designed to prevent new gas-fired power stations. One in five of our ageing power stations is due to close in the next decade and it is impossible to build enough low-carbon capacity in that time. A gas plant is relatively quick to build and provides flexible back-up. As most new gas plants will be replacing coal plants, there is also a big win for reducing carbon emissions. Assurances that the emissions limit won’t be cut unexpectedly are important to investors.
The Chancellor has introduced a floor to the carbon price, rising over time, providing a disincentive to carbon-emitting electricity. And we intend to legislate to provide for long-term contracts for renewables, new nuclear and carbon capture and storage. This was set out in my predecessor’s July White Paper; I intend to see it through.
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change