Speech

The Prime Minister's speech on National Infrastructure: Energy

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Check against delivery 19 March 2012 “The next area where we are planning bold transformation is energy. We need to find diverse, secure …

Check against delivery

19 March 2012

“The next area where we are planning bold transformation is energy.

We need to find diverse, secure sources of energy that can meet demand, keep prices stable and cut the impact of carbon on the planet.

But this is the problem we inherited.

We’re powering our country through an out-of-date, inefficient grid and ageing, polluting power stations.

We need to replace coal plants, invest in modern gas power and affordable renewable energy.

Gas power will continue to be absolutely vital for our electricity system - and we will work with industry to develop a new gas generation strategy that draws in investment and secures electricity supply.

Today, nuclear energy forms the backbone of our low-carbon generation fleet but the nine plants still left in service in Britain are reaching the end of their life.

I’m convinced that we need to press ahead with their replacement - but that involves three big challenges.

One - getting the price right, without state subsidy.

Two - getting plants built on time.

Three - making sure we maximise the economic benefits to the UK in terms of skills, jobs and manufacturing.

So today I can confirm our intention to work with the private sector to deliver the new plants that companies would like to build between now and 2030.

And we will continue investing in nuclear decommissioning, and assess whether there is a commercially viable proposition for turning nuclear waste into fuel for the next generation of reactors.

Our electricity market reforms will allow the private sector to invest in Britain with confidence.

And renewable energy is the final component in a balanced energy mix.

Our focus here will be on offshore wind, for hard-headed reasons.

It is secure, generated at home rather than imported.

And it’s one of the world’s fastest growing energy sources, which means substantial economic opportunities.

I believe we are well-placed to become a world leader in offshore wind power - and this Government is doing all it can to make sure that happens…”