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Energy generation commission urged after Paris deal

Power supplies

The government has been urged to create a national infrastructure commission for energy generation, after a global climate deal was struck in Paris.

Engineering and design giant Aecom said investors needed greater certainty to ensure they committed to the power projects the UK needed.

Almost 200 countries signed an agreement at a United Nations conference in the French capital last week to reach zero net emissions by the end of the 21st century. Progress towards this goal will be independently assessed in 2018 and every five years from then.

Aecom UK director of power and industrial consents Richard Lowe said each country now had to act on the deal.

“For the UK, it is an opportunity to reinvigorate low-carbon approaches before nuclear new-build comes on stream,” he said.

“The UK must plug the energy gap that will be created between nuclear new-build coming online and the proposed decommissioning of coal-fired power stations by 2025.”

Lowe cited an Aecom/CBI survey where four in five respondents saw market uncertainty as a “significant” risk to attracting investment in energy infrastructure.

“The UK government recently took steps to achieve a long-term, cross-party approach to infrastructure through establishing the National Infrastructure Commission,” he said.

“A similar approach to energy generation that shields it from the five-year electoral cycle should also now be explored. This would give businesses and investors greater confidence about policy certainty.”

The government said the Paris deal marked “a clear turning point” in the battle against climate change.

Prime minister David Cameron said: “In striking this deal, the nations of the world have shown what unity, ambition and perseverance can do.

“Britain is already leading the way in work to cut emissions and help less developed countries cut theirs – and this global deal now means that the whole world has signed up to play its part in halting climate change. It’s a moment to remember and a huge step forward in helping to secure the future of our planet.”

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