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September 14, 2009

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British official rules out power shortages

BRITAIN is not in danger of power cuts during the next decade as it switches to cleaner energy generation, the UK's Energy and Climate Change Secretary said yesterday.

Forecasts contained in a government report in July suggested Britain could face widespread power shortages within eight years due to the planned closure of coal- and gas-fired power stations while waiting for new nuclear plants to be built.

Power supplies could also be hit by a growing reliance on intermittent renewable energy sources, such as wind, the appendix to the British government's plans for the transition to a low carbon economy said.

"There's no danger of power cuts in the next decade," Ed Miliband told BBC television.

He said the government was taking action to prevent a shortage, including changing the planning system facilitating the build of power stations and wind farms.

"Power stations are closing, but we already have about 10 gigawatts - that's enough to supply 10 million households - of new power stations being built, and another 10 gigawatts with planning consent," he said.

The first of the new nuclear power stations will open at the end of 2017 or the beginning of 2018, he said.

More wind generators were planned, gas-fired power stations are already being built and the government is looking to develop clean coal power stations, he said.

Miliband was less optimistic about the world securing a new global climate change treaty at Copenhagen later in the year, saying it was "in the balance."

"I'm an optimist by nature, but it's tough," he said.


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