BPF President, Philip Watkins, and Director-General, Peter Davis, have received a reply to their 29th January letter on Energy concerns from Edward Davey MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.
BPF President, Philip Watkins, welcomed Mr Davey’s recognition in the letter of the potential for UK Shale Gas. He said: “We are glad the Secretary of State has set up the new Office for Unconventional Gas and Oil to drive investment and exploitation”.
But Mr Watkins says he was not reassured by Mr Davey’s letter that the UK plastics industry will have the certainty of future secure, affordable energy supplies to keep and attract investment in the UK, when 20 percent of the country’s power generation will go off line by 2020. “I am worried about complacency here,” Mr Watkins said. “Mr Davey says that the UK gas market is ‘one of the best functioning in the world’, but we still import over half our gas and have only 16 days storage. On 23rd March our gas storage was only 10 percent full. His letter does not show any great urgency in increasing gas storage”.
Acknowledging the point in the letter about nuclear power, the Secretary of State said the first new nuclear power station, Hinkley Point, would come into operation in late 2019 and welcomed the role of Hitachi in developing more power stations. Mr Watkins commented: “Most people believe Hinkley Point will come into operation only in 2022 and last week it was reported that Hitachi is increasingly reluctant to build 4-6 new UK nuclear reactors unless Government improved its terms.”
Regarding energy from waste, the BPF says Mr Davey’s letter does show the funds available for developing technologies such as Energy from Waste but he does not commit to provide, as the association requested, leadership on EfW’s benefits.
Peter Davis, Director-General of the BPF, said: “EfW could provide 11 percent of our UK energy needs from diverting unrecyclable waste from landfill. It’s surprising they don’t attach much more urgency and leadership to developing more capacity.”
Mr Davis continued: “With the risk of black-outs on the horizon the Secretary of State should be asking every month how much new power generation has been created? And how much has been closed down?”