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MPs call for power plant standard

New standards to limit emissions from power stations are needed to ensure the UK cuts carbon from energy production, a committee of MPs has said.

Introducing an emissions performance standard (EPS) for new power plants is likely to increase energy prices for consumers.

But it will help “Britain blaze ahead with world-leading low carbon technology”, Energy and Climate Change Committee chairman Tim Yeo said.

Current policies designed to drive down carbon emissions in the energy sector - which needs to be almost entirely decarbonised by 2030 for the UK to meet targets to tackle climate change - are not sufficient, a report by the committee warned.

Existing regulations such as the renewables obligation, which aims to encourage the construction of renewable power such as wind farms, the EU emissions trading scheme and funding for a project to develop technology on a power station that captures and permanently stores carbon emissions are not delivering adequate investment in green power.

The report said introducing an emissions performance standard could force faster emissions cuts from the power sector and prevent new fossil fuel power stations such as coal plants from being built.

The standard could also show the industry the government’s intentions for the energy sector and stimulate development and deployment of carbon capture and storage technology - if it is part of a package of measures.

But the report by the Energy and Climate Change committee warned that bringing in emissions performance standards ran the risk of preventing sufficient capacity to keep the UK’s lights on, driving investment in new power to other countries in Europe or having too great an impact on the prices consumers have to pay.

The committee called on the Government to look at all the options for the EPS, including which facilities it would apply to, when it would come into force and whether it would become more stringent over time, to avoid unintended outcomes of the policy.

And the MPs demanded an independent review of regulations and wider market reform in the electricity sector.

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