Rudd announces three offshore auctions

Wednesday, 25 November, 2015 - 10:00

UK’s Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd has set out her vision for an energy system that puts consumers first, delivers more competition, reduces the burden on bill-payers and ensures enough electricity generation to power the nation. And she announced three offshore wind auctions.

Speaking at the Institution of Civil Engineers in London on November 18th, UK’s Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd revealed her policy priorities and her strategy for putting them into action. Rudd set out the challenges facing the country’s energy system, saying: “We now have an electricity system where no form of power generation, not even gas-fired power stations, can be built without government intervention. And a legacy of ageing, often unreliable plants. Perversely, even with the huge growth in renewables, our dependence on coal – the dirtiest fossil fuel – hasn’t been reduced. Indeed a higher proportion of our electricity came from coal in 2014 than in 1999. So despite intervention we still haven’t found the right balance.”

The Energy Secretary committed Government support for offshore wind on the condition that it comes down in cost: “We should also support the growth of our world leading offshore wind industry. Today I can announce that – if, and only if, the Government’s conditions on cost reduction are met – we will make funding available for three auctions in this Parliament. We intend to hold the first of these auctions by the end of 2016.” On current plans, Rudd expects to see 10 GW of offshore wind installed by 2020. But the cost pressure for the industry remains high. “The industry tells us they can meet that challenge, and we will hold them to it. If they don’t there will be no subsidy. No more blank cheques,” Rudd said.

Rudd also signalled her intention to develop a cleaner, more secure energy network by consulting on closing coal fired power stations by 2025. She said: “Our consultation will set out proposals to close coal by 2025 – and restrict its use from 2023.”

She also explained that nuclear power had a central role in the UK’s energy future: “Opponents of nuclear misread the science. It is safe and reliable. The challenge, as with other low carbon technologies, is to deliver nuclear power which is low cost as well. Green energy must be cheap energy.”

The full text of the Secretary of State’s speech is available here.

Katharina Garus

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