UK Launches Inquiry into Renewable Energy, Nuclear

The UK’s The Environmental Audit Committee is launching an inquiry to examine the options for investment in meeting future requirements for new electricity generating capacity. The inquiry will focus on the relative costs of different technologies, including nuclear, the various forms of renewables (wind, wave, tidal, PV), and microgeneration, and the contributions which they can make.

It will consider the scale of the investment required and the extent to which such investment would help achieve the objectives set out in the Energy White Paper of promoting a step-change in energy efficiency and the deployment of renewables. It will also examine the role these different technologies might play in reducing carbon emissions and contributing to security of supply. The Energy White Paper, published in March 2003, set out a vision in which renewables and energy efficiency would play a key role in UK energy policy and plug the gap left by the decline of current nuclear and coal generating capacity. It saw no need for promoting a new generation of nuclear power stations although it suggested that technical expertise in this area should be maintained. Over the last year, however, there has been renewed discussion of the nuclear option, prompted by the recent poor performance of the UK in terms of carbon emissions and by a widespread perception that parts of Government are strongly in favor of nuclear new build. There is also some concern that uncertainty regarding the Government’s intentions in this respect might also damage future investment in renewables and energy efficiency, and a number of recent studies have emphasized the important role that these can play. In view of such developments, and the scale of investment required in future electricity generating plant, the Committee believes an inquiry on this topic would be timely. The Committee invites organizations and members of the public to submit memoranda setting out their views on this inquiry. Some specific issues on which the Committee would welcome comments are set out overleaf, though respondents are free to comment on any issues which they consider relevant. Written evidence should be sent to the Committee by 21 September 2005, preferably by e-mail to eacom@parliament.uk (it is important we are also sent a hard copy by post). A brief guidance note on the preparation and submission of evidence is available on the Committee’s web pages. For further information on the this inquiry, please telephone 020-7219-1378. For a full list of inquiry issues, see the following link.
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