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Energy drift


ICE Energy Board former chairman David Anderson recognises that the Government cannot expect the market to implement its latest energy policy (News 13 July).

Markets depend on many suppliers offering many goods to many consumers. But while there are many electricity generators they have but one product and one customer - the National Grid. Furthermore, the capital costs of most renewable and nuclear energy are high compared with running costs.

Companies will not invest unless a sufficient unit price is assured.

Generation options are principally wind, nuclear, gas and coal. Perversely they would be used in that order to limit CO 2 emissions, but in the reverse order to minimise costs. Someone, and it cannot be the market, has to decide the strategy.

I suggest constituting the planning functions of the Central Electricity Generating Board that could decide when, where and how much wind capacity it wanted, and obtain the planning permission.

The 'market' would compete on a lifetime-cost basis to build, operate and decommission the farms/stations required. Wind, other renewables and nuclear would be paid for every unit they produced, fossil stations partly for the available capacity and partly for units supplied.

There may be better solutions, but without a body with the ability to plan and take account of, for example, growth in micro-generation in its forecasts, we will drift for years.

Richard Balmer (M), 79, Links Drive, Solihull, B91 2DJ

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