Energy minister Charles Hendry this week said there was no place for “a debate about wind versus nuclear”, despite reports that wind turbines generated lower levels of electricity than expected during December.
Both technologies will be important as the UK strives to secure private investment to create a mixed energy generation portfolio, he said.
“If we have another very cold, still winter [the question is] will we have the right balance of technology? It means looking at strategic interconnectors and it means looking at back up technologies.”
Hendry repeated the coalition’s commitment to a new generation of offshore wind turbines.
“We have 40% of Europe’s wind and not to use this resource as part of our energy portfolio would be an absurdly inadequate position, so we are driving forward investment in offshore wind.”
“If we have another very cold, still winter [the question is] will we have the right balance of technology?”
But he also praised nuclear. “The UK is one of the most exciting places to be for new build nuclear,” he said.
Forthcoming energy market reforms are a vital step towards creating a market structure that will encourage the private sector to invest in the range of technologies needed, he said.
Hendry was speaking at a lunch organised by recruitment specialist Odgers Berndtson’s Infrastructure Practice.
He said securing £200bn for energy infrastructure investment over the next decade will be a “formidable challenge” that must be met. “In the past, too often we had high aspiration but no plans to deliver.
Now we are going to be rooted in reality about the cost of failing and the cost to consumers,” he said.