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Huhne backs nuclear despite Lib Dem opposition

Liberal Democrat energy secretary Chris Huhne has said new nuclear power would go ahead as part of the UK’s low-carbon energy mix - despite his party’s opposition to the technology.

Laying out plans for low-carbon growth, including clean power generation and energy efficiency, Huhne said the coalition government’s agreement was clear that new nuclear “can and will go ahead” as long as there was no public subsidy for the sector.

Under the agreement, the Lib Dems can speak out against nuclear - which they oppose - but will abstain on a vote on the National Policy Statement which would pave the way for new nuclear power stations.

He told the Economist UK Energy Summit that alongside investment in energy - which will need to reach £200bn over the coming decade - a new drive was needed to boost energy efficiency, which he described as the “Cinderella of the energy ball”.

In a speech to the conference, he set out proposals for the government’s “green deal” which he said could see up to 14M homes benefit from insulation that would save them money on their bills.

Huhne told delegates that currently, UK households “may as well be burning £50 notes outside our front doors” because of the amount of energy wasted.

The government is planning a “radical overhaul of our existing homes to save energy, carbon and costs” through its Green Deal scheme in which energy companies and high street stores would pay upfront for work to insulate homes and improve energy efficiency.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Mr Huhne seems to have forgotten that a fair game is played on a Level Playing Fireld. He will give vast amounts of our money to foreign companies to exploit our wind but refuses £80m to a UK company prepared to invest $100m's in UK built nuclear.
    I feel for him.

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  • None of the political parties nor the Institution seem to have done the sums when it comes to Energy. They all talk glibly of cutting CO2 by 80% in forty years but have not laid out a plan of how this is to be done.

    The principal oversight seems to be is how we make the electricity that will power our so called "zero emission" electric cars and replace gas used for heating.

    We currently have 75GW of installed electric power and this represents just 20% of our energy use. To provide power for vehicles and heating with only 20% of the power coming from fossil fuels by my reckoning we shall need 4 x 75GW of "green" electricty by 2050. Since "renewables" seems to equate to "wind power" and since wind turbines produce only 30% of their rated power it seems to me that we must install 300GW/0.3 =1000GW of wind power to meet the 2050 target!

    To believe we are on course to do this is "pie in the sky". We engineers should be ashamed of ourselves for being green (in the sense onf naive)

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