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Dissent Clouds Future Of Britain’s Green Energy Targets

Tim Webb & Michael Savage, The Times

Two of Britain’s largest energy companies have broken ranks with their peers and have urged the Government to ditch a radical plan to make electricity generation almost entirely green by 2030.

RWE npower and Centrica believe that the proposed decarbonisation target, which could be included this month in the Government’s new Energy Bill, goes too far, given how much needs to be done to meet existing green targets.

Their stance over the plan to eradicate almost all carbon emissions from the power sector by 2030 is at odds with the rest of the energy industry. Today, Vincent de Rivaz, the chief executive of EDF Energy, will sign a petition from the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change backing the plan, which would be funded by levies on electricity bills.

The policy has split the coalition: the Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, is backing it; George Osborne is leading opponents.

Supporters say that spending tens of billions now building wind farms, nuclear reactors and green power plants would lead to lower electricity bills, as rising gas and carbon prices are taken out of the equation.

But Volker Beckers, RWE npower’s chief executive, said that new gas plants would be left stranded on the system and energy tariffs would have to rise in the short term: “It would not help anyone in the industry to tighten the belt [on emissions]. It would create more uncertainty.” RWE npower and Centrica are the biggest investors in gas plants.

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