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Government unveils gas strategy

Energy secretary Ed Davey unveiled plans to construct up to 26GW capacity of new gas-fired power stations in its Gas Generation Strategy published yesterday.

As part of raft of announcements in the Autumn Statement, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has unveiled a number of steps to help stimulate more investment in gas power stations.

Measures include the creation of a new Office for Unconventional Gas and Oil - to streamline the regulatory process - and consulation over the permit process.

Unconventional gas includes shale gas, which could be increased under the new gas strategy. The UK’s only shale gas developer, Cuadrilla, welcomed the announcement.

Davey said last week increasing gas generation capacity would not undermine investment in wind.

“The solution is not wind or gas - it is both,” he said.

Gas accounted for 40% of UK generation in 2011, according to Decc. More than 14GW of capacity for gas power generation has been consented and a further 2GW is under consideration.

Consultant WSP director Scot Parkhurst said the government’s lack of clarity over the future energy mix is stalling construction of new gas schemes.

“There is already a significant pipeline of projects which have not moved onto construction because of the delays caused by the government’s energy polic, including seven gas plants already consented but with no commitments to build, and five more with only pre application notices made,” he said. “Without clarity on how they will fit into the future sustainable energy mix this announcement is unlikely to speed things up.”

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