Diverse fuels key to energy future - UK Council for Science and Technology

June 1, 2005

London, 31 May 2005

Investment in low-carbon, large-scale sources of electricity - from tidal to nuclear to clean coal - are key to future energy policy in the UK, recommends a new report published by the Council for Science and Technology (CST) today.

The report, An Electricity Supply Strategy for the UK, calls for a new strategic approach in response to changing energy sources and the challenge of climate change. Public engagement also has a key role to play in addressing the broader issues, including the different options, to help government make more responsive and timely decisions.

The CST, the government's top-level advisory body on science and technology policy issues, made a number of recommendations in the report addressing the key energy policy issues which include:

* immediate investment in large scale, low-carbon, energy generation facilities to meet the Government's carbon dioxide reduction targets;

* keeping the nuclear option open and placing more emphasis on carbon sequestration and tidal power;

* government investment in R&D should be aimed at new and renewable fuel sources, energy management, storage and improving the supply and training of skilled workers in the UK; and

* development of the transmission network, its protection mechanisms and metering systems to facilitate distributed and diverse generators, ranging from commercial to domestic units; and to address the regulatory issues arising from this form of generation.

The CST programme of work identified energy as a key issue and established a working group, under the leadership of Professor Michael Sterling (vice-chancellor of Birmingham University). The report is advice to the government to help it form future energy policy.

Professor Sterling said: "The CST has the role of providing the very best advice to government.

"The government's Energy White Paper contains challenging targets which are likely to be missed unless hard decisions are taken now. This report proposes that government give greater attention to technologies that will deliver significant generation capacity in 10 years' time, and to technologies that will deliver reliable renewable energy in the long-term.

"In the current climate of intense debate, this report provides an excellent opportunity to address the full range of issues, and recognise the valuable role public dialogue has." Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, welcomed the report.

He said: "The report is a very important and valuable contribution to the energy debate which we shall be having over the coming months, and I am grateful to the Council for Science and Technology for their work."

Notes

1. The Council for Science and Technology (CST) is the UK government's top-level advisory body on science and technology policy issues, appointed by the Prime Minister. It is co-chaired by Sir David King, the government's Chief Scientific Adviser, and Sir Keith Peters. CST's report 'An Electricity Supply Strategy for the UK' is available from http://www.cst.gov.uk

2. The energy sub-group comprised: Professor Michael Sterling - University of Birmingham (convener), Dr Sue Ion - BNFL, Professor Sir John Beringer - University of Bristol, Dr Dieter Helm - University of Oxford.

Department of Trade and Industry
News release No. P/2005/170
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