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E.ON warning over 'superficial' energy debate

The chief executive of major power and gas company E.ON has said the debate on UK energy need is “narrow and superficial” and endangering efforts to meet future demand.

E.ON has launched an Energy Manifesto titled Carbon, Cost and Consequences looking at how the UK can reduce emissions while ensuring energy is as affordable as possible and protecting the reliability of supply.

At the launch Dr Paul Golby, E.ON chief executive, said the UK was facing a “trilemma” of how to balance the priorities of carbon, costs and energy security.

He said: 'The UK's generation infrastructure is being massively overhauled.  We must take this opportunity to make sure that the energy of the future is low carbon, secure and as low cost as possible.'

'We are calling for a new, balanced and honest debate about the UK's energy needs, one that truly assesses the consequence in terms of carbon, cost and security of our energy choices.

'Our interest in the outcome of this debate - and our willingness to fully participate in it - is driven by the fact that we have already begun to help build the energy infrastructure for the future. 

'Yet, at every turn - on renewables, on coal and no doubt on nuclear - the siloed, narrow and superficial nature of the current energy debate is hampering our ability to meet the country's future energy needs.'

He said policy makers and the wider population had to face up to the cost of adapting the UK’s energy infrastructure – particularly expanding renewables. E.ON estimates the UK will have to spend £50 to £100 billion on new generation and capacity.

Dr Golby said: “We must dispel the myth that renewables are cheap, Because we have all been silent on this, people think it won’t cost anything.

“I’m not saying moving to renewables is not the right thing to do. But, we need to be honest with our customers. Moving to a low carbon economy is going to cause some economic pain in the short term.”

Spreading the Load - E.ON projects:

Combined Heat and Power (CHP)
Building one of the world's largest gas-fired CHP power stations at the Isle of Grain in Kent

Coal
Applying to build a 1,600MW cleaner coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent at a cost of at least £1.5bn.

Gas

Working on the early stages of building the 1,200MW Drakelow CCGT in Derbyshire;

Wind Power

Building the 180MW £325m Robin Rigg offshore wind farm in the Solway Firth;
Applying to build the 300MW £700m Humber Gateway offshore wind farm;
Investigating two major marine projects, a wave power scheme off north Cornwall and a tidal stream project off Pembrokeshire;
Part of the consortium looking to build the world's largest offshore wind farm, the 1,000MW London Array, in the Thames approaches;

Nuclear

Looking at the possibility of building at least two nuclear power stations, and is working with AREVA and Westinghouse on designs;

Green Power

Investigating a green development portfolio that could supply around a million homes and displace the emission of two million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.