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Gas 'will continue to play a role' in heating, energy minister declares

Energy minister Charles Hendry expressed his concern over the lack of gas storage in the UK at the a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference hosted by HHIC and the Policy Exchange that debated the role of gas in a low-carbon energy future.

He suggested that through legislation, gas companies should be required to increase the amount of the fuel that they store.

Worcester, Bosch head of sustainable development Neil Schofield, Policy Exchange head of environment and energy Richard Howard, EUA chief executive Mike Foster and Ben Caldecott of Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment also joined the panel.

Mr Schofield argued that the future of gas had been a topic of discussion when he first joined the industry 20-plus years ago, but it was still a massive market heating the majority of homes.

While discussing the role gas does and would continue to play in heating, Mr Foster said costs involved in the “all electric” scenario made them unlikely to be adopted when developments in unconventional and green gas could offer cheaper and cleaner alternatives.

Mr Caldecott spoke of the need to phase out coal for power generation by 2020 and bring forward construction of new gas power plants.

The panel agreed gas had a role to play in the future decarbonisation process, and to meet Britain’s 2050 carbon-reduction targets means not ruling out any technologies and encouraging innovation.

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