Photo: david.nikonvscanon, Flickr, CC BY
The plans are being called the "largest shakeup of the UK energy sector" since the 1980s, and indeed, if implemented, they could have a profound impact on carbon emissions. The proposal, announced by UK energy and climate secretary Chris Huhne, would seek to position renewable sources as the "dominant" sources of energy generation by 2030, the Guardian reports. Among the initiatives is putting a floor price on carbon, investing in energy efficiency measures like smart meters, and limiting the emissions of coal plants. Here's more from the Guardian:
... Huhne said it would lead to a "seismic shift" towards cleaner energy.The government says that more than £110bn of investment is needed in new power stations and grid upgrades over the next decade - double the investment over the last decade. Around a quarter of the UK's generating capacity needs to be replaced by 2020, equivalent to around 20 large power stations.Also central to the plan is what the UK government is calling an emissions performance standard (EPS) that "would set a limit on the level of CO2 emissions" that coal plants are allowed to spew out. The government is currently considering a target between 600 and 450 grams of carbon pollution per kilowatt hour.
Huhne said the reforms aimed to boost investment in low-carbon energy and allow the UK to meet its ambitious target of cutting emissions by 34% by 2020 ... The changes will establish a minimum "floor" price for carbon and long-term contracts that give investors a guaranteed price for providing energy - in addition to setting a tax on fossil fuels. The government has not announced what the floor price will be.
Here's how Huhne described his plan to the Commons: "We have a once-in a generation chance to rebuild our electricity market, investor confidence and our power plants. This will be seismic shift, securing investment in cleaner, greener power and ensuring low-carbon, affordable power for decades to come."
And remember, Huhne is a conservative. It's refreshing to see a developed nation with political body that's actually working to aggressively address climate change ...