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More Efficient, Low Carbon and Secure Energy

More Efficient, Low Carbon and Secure Energy

DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY News Release (P/2007/102) issued by The Government News Network on 23 May 2007

Darling publishes Energy White Paper

Greater energy efficiency and a secure, low carbon energy mix for the long-term are at the centre of the Energy White Paper published by Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling today.

In a statement to the House of Commons, Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling said:

"We face two big challenges - climate change and maintaining stable and affordable energy supply in an increasingly unstable world. The Energy White Paper sets out a long term framework for action to address these challenges at home and abroad.

"The UK is also becoming increasingly dependent on imported oil and gas at a time when global demand is accelerating. We will ensure that we make the most of our substantial remaining reserves in the North Sea, have a diverse range of sources for our imports and make further progress opening up markets in Europe and more widely.

"With a third of our current electricity generation capacity due to close in the next 20 years there is also a pressing need for investment in new low carbon sources. We will work to ensure there is a market price for carbon into the long term by strengthening the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.
We will triple the amount of electricity we get from renewables by 2015. We want to lead in the development of carbon capture and storage. And we will consult on the significant role that new nuclear power stations could play in cutting emissions and diversifying our supply.

"With the measures we are proposing across government on energy and the wider environment we can cut emissions by between 23-33 million tonnes of carbon by 2020 - the equivalent of removing all the emissions that we get from every car, van and lorry on Britain's roads today.

"Every action set in train by this White Paper is important, and none will be easy. Nor can we become a low carbon economy in a single step. But if each of us acts we can start to deliver the low-carbon economy vital to our prosperity."

Environment Secretary David Miliband said:

"There's a real will among consumers and businesses to become more energy efficient, tackle climate change and move the UK towards a low-carbon economy. Government's role is to make it as easy as possible for them to do this. The Energy White Paper is part of that picture.

"For consumers, it means extra help to improve the energy efficiency of even more homes because we are proposing that energy companies will have to double their efforts in promoting efficiency measures. This will in turn reduce emissions and fuel bills.

"For businesses, we're giving the go-ahead to the world's first mandatory carbon trading scheme aimed at large commercial and public sector organisations, such as banks, supermarkets and central government departments. The new Carbon Reduction Commitment will be a cost-effective scheme that will save over a million tonnes of carbon per year by 2020,
while enabling businesses to continue to show real leadership in tackling climate change.

"And for the wider international community, action to tackle climate change in the UK is vital if we are to bring the US, China and India to the table to agree a new climate change deal. That's why this White Paper also sets out our international energy and climate change strategy and I hope it will resonate far beyond the shores of the UK."

Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said:

"To deliver energy security and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy requires urgent and ambitious action at home and abroad. As the Stern report indicated, we will need a massive step change in investment to achieve this necessary transition in the time available. In particular, given that major economies are going to continue to use coal, we need to make sure that the technologies that eliminate carbon emissions from coal use are developed and deployed as rapidly as possible. The UK cannot act alone, but it can take the lead in working towards this goal, and the Energy White Paper will help us do that."

Announcements in the White Paper include:

* A requirement for new meters to come with a real-time display from 2008 and a short term offer of free displays from energy suppliers for households to 2010. In addition, the Government is encouraging the introduction of smart meters, also with displays, in the household sector and for small firms and expects everyone to have a smart meter within 10 years, whilst requiring smart meters for all but the smallest of businesses in the next five years.

* A consultation setting out how the energy efficiency of consumer electronics will need to improve is published.

* A consultation to double energy suppliers' current obligation to deliver energy efficiency measures to customers through a new 'Carbon Emission Reduction Target'.

*A cap and trade ‘Carbon Reduction Commitment’ for large commercial organisations such as banks, supermarkets and large local authorities.

* A 'Distributed Generation' Report is published including simplification of energy market and licensing arrangements for localised energy by the end of 2008 and clearer export tariffs from all six major energy suppliers for microgenerators to sell excess electricity.

* Legislation to band the Renewables Obligation to benefit offshore wind, wave, tidal and other emerging technologies. The cap on the amount of co-firing generation qualifying for support will be removed.

* Publication of a Biomass Strategy as well as a response to ' Creating Value from Renewable Materials' - a 2 year progress report on the Strategy for Non - Food Crops and Uses.

* Detail on the competition announced in the Budget to build the world's first end-to-end Carbon Capture and Storage plant, which will deliver at least 300MW capacity, 90% CO2 saving, and be up and running between 2011 and 2014.

* Legislation to allow the storage of natural gas under the seabed and unloading of Liquefied Natural Gas at sea.

* A three month deadline within which DTI will make consent decisions on large scale energy projects, pending more radical reforms set out in the Planning White Paper.

* A new energy market information and analysis service from this autumn.

* A Low Carbon Transport Innovation Strategy is published backed by funding of £20m for public procurement of low carbon vehicles, an up to £30m R&D 'Innovation Platform' and £5m additional funding for the Energy Technologies Institute.

In addition, published alongside the White Paper, are:

* A new consultation on the Government's preliminary view that it is in the public interest to give private sector energy companies the option of investing in new nuclear power stations. A 20 week public consultation running until 10 October starts today.

* A related consultation setting out the proposed 'Justification' and 'Strategic Siting Assessment' processes for new nuclear power. A 'pre-licensing' process has separately been started by the Health and Safety Executive. Work on all three of these facilitative actions will be on a contingent basis alongside the main nuclear consultation. We will review whether to continue with this work in the light of the main consultation responses.

The Planning White Paper, published on Monday 21 May, has separately set out proposals for a new consent regime for nationally significant energy infrastructure. This will help reduce costs, delays and uncertainties incurred by the private sector while also providing an appropriate opportunity for the public to challenge development.

Notes for Editors

1. The Energy White Paper takes forward the conclusions set out in the Energy Review report 'The Energy Challenge' published in July 2006.

2. A full copy of the Energy White Paper will be available at

3. Nuclear consultation.

* The Government wants as many people as possible to take part in the consultation and has designed the process to ensure we are listening to the wider public as well as interested parties.

* We have set up an online consultation at and the website has been designed to make it easy for people to take part.

* We will also be hosting a series of deliberative events across the UK. They will enable us to understand the views of the public after they have heard the key facts and arguments in the consultation.

* Discussion at the events will address the same key questions in the consultation document. The public taking part in the deliberative events will be recruited to be demographically representative of the UK population. Recruitment will be through direct invitation of randomly selected homes on selected electoral registers.

* In addition, over the next few months we want to meet with representatives from NGOs, industry, local authorities and many other organisations. These meetings will enable us to explore in more detail the views of interested parties.

* Summaries of the events will be published on our website when available during the consultation.

4. In addition to the Energy White Paper, consultations and other reports mentioned above, a number of analytical and consultants reports are also published today. Copies can be found at

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