The idea that we are “watering down” our commitment is simply incorrect (“Dirtiest coal power plants win reprieve, 16 August”): this Government has committed to introducing an Emissions Performance Standard.
We are moving as quickly as possible and our consultation on a radical reform of the electricity market to deliver secure, affordable and low carbon energy, will be out within 6 months of election while a white paper will be published within a year.
The view that this might raise the possibility of new coal-fired power stations “slipping through the system” is ludicrous.
We consider planning applications thoroughly and will not allow any new coal power station to be built without being equipped with carbon capture and storage. While we will consult on the final details of an Emissions Performance Standard, I am clear that without CCS it would be impossible to meet such a standard.
However an Emissions Performance Standard on its own is not a magic bullet to decarbonise our economy. We have inherited an energy system that has suffered from a lack of clear direction and was not fit for purpose. That is why we will be implementing comprehensive electricity market reform to ensure that we can have a secure, low carbon, affordable electricity mix for decades to come.
The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change