The UK's trade and industry minister Alistair Darling has given a round of interviews to the media outlining the likely role that nuclear will play in the country's future energy mix.
The government’s long-awaited energy review will be published shortly, and it seems certain that the document’s headline recommendation will be an advocacy of a new program of nuclear power plants.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Mr Darling echoed the sentiments of his boss, prime minister Tony Blair, by saying that the both environmental and supply security issues had helped him to overcome his initial skepticism about the nuclear option.
I’ve always been clear that a mix of electricity generation is good for two reasons. One is it means your eggs are not all in one basket and, in relation to security of supply, that is very important. Also, of course, nuclear generation of itself does reduce carbon emissions, the newspaper quoted him as saying.
However while reaction to the government’s review is set to be dominated by nuclear, the trade secretary has recently been at pains to point out how an energy efficiency drive could make a dramatic, and straightforward, impact on the nation’s energy usage. Mr Darling told the Herald newspaper that oil and gas companies are incentivized to sell you as much as they can, and the more you use the cheaper it gets. What they are not incentivized to do, and what I think we need to do, is incentivize them to sell energy-saving devices.
At the moment, our policy is predicated on 27 million households doing the right thing. It is far easier to ask yourselves is it not easier to incentivize six people – there are six energy providers in this country – to do this job for you, he told the paper.