Dash for gas could squeeze out low-carbon generation

Far from looming blackouts, the current energy market is likely to deliver a glut of new gas-fired power stations, threatening the future of low-carbon generation and jeopardising the UK’s binding carbon budgets by 2020

There has been no shortage of dire warnings in the media and from the Conservative Party in recent years that Britain’s lights could go out by the 2020s as ageing nuclear power plants and the most polluting coal and oil-fired plants close. A total of 43 gigawatts of new capacity will be needed to meet UK electricity demand.

In fact, a power glut is more likely. Over the next decade, Britain is set to get many new gas-fired power stations. If all those granted planning permission and those that have applied for permission are built – along with planned new nuclear, clean coal and renewable energy power plant – there would be a huge surplus capacity of at least 22 gigawatts.

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