The government’s plans to build new gas-fired power stations have been slammed by environmental group Friends of the Earth.
It says the move risks locking the UK into a future of high-carbon electricity generation, making it virtually impossible to reduce per-unit carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation by 90 per cent by 2030.
FoE says it is now calling for a ban on any more ‘dirty gas’ plans, unless tougher limits on carbon emissions from power stations are introduced.
Its statement followed the news that nearly double the number of gas-fired power stations above what the government says the UK needs are due to be built.
FoE analysis shows that up to nine gigawatts of new, gas-fired electricity generation - enough to power almost nine million homes - could come online by 2016.
The government says 4.9 GW may be needed by 2020.
Another estimate last month, by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said that at up to 11 GW may be built by 2016.
FoE has also released a report on the global factors affecting UK gas prices, showing how these have risen over the last decade.
Ever-increasing international demand means it is likely the price of gas will keep rising, it says.
FoE energy campaigner Paul Steedman said: “Once again we’re seeing how energy companies are planning to keep us hooked on dirty and expensive gas we don’t need.
“Gas dependency is a costly, polluting dead-end. To guarantee affordable energy in the long run we must switch to clean British power and slash energy waste.”
These announcements were followed by further uncertainty over power stations, with E.ON announcing it is reconsidering the building of a 150 MW biomass plant in Bristol.
Although it has received consent, the company is now analysing the news that the government will reduce biomass subsidies by 7 per cent from April 2016.