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Evidence that the Energy side of Greg Clark's brief is even more pressing than Climate Change

12.15pm update: Greg Clark has blogged about today's story here.


CLARK GREGNot so long ago, on one of the many occasions on which the departmental structures of Whitehall have been tinkered with, Gordon Brown created the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

Yet on the basis of most of what comes out of the department and its Secretary of State, Ed Miliband, you'd have thought that it was the Department for Climate Change (well, for tackling Climate Change), with the Energy side being rather overlooked.

So today's Daily Telegraph provides a stark reminder of the urgent need for politicians and policy makers not to ignore the need to ensure energy supplies in the near future. 

The paper cites official figures showing demand for power exceeding supply from the national grid "within eight years", and warning of the prospect of "widespread power cuts".

And these are problems which Greg Clark, Miliband's shadow, claims the Government is not facing up to:

Greg Clark, the shadow climate and energy change secretary, said: “Britain faces blackouts because the Government has put its head in the sand about Britain’s energy policy for a decade. Over the next 10 years we need to replace one third of our generating capacity but Labour has left it perilously late, and has been forced to admit they expect power cuts for the first time since the 1970s.

“The next government has an urgent task to accelerate the deployment of a new generating capacity, and to take steps to ensure that as a matter of national security there is enough capacity to provide a robust margin of safety.”

Mr Clark also pointed out that the scale of the blackouts could in fact be three times worse than the Government predictions. He said some of the modelling used was “optimistic” as it assumes little or no change in electricity demand up until to 2020.

It also assumes a rapid increase in wind farm capacity. There is also the assumption that existing nuclear power stations will be granted extensions to their “lifetimes".

The Telegraph also carries a robust editorial stating that "when the power cuts start, blame Labour", reminding us that the Government has been slow to order replacements for ageing nuclear reactors - at a time when EU directives are forcing the closure of nine oil and coal-fired power plants: at that rate, a few additional wind farms are not going to be sufficient to stop the lights going out... 

Jonathan Isaby


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