Tim Yeo: Here are five simple steps which Greg Clark can take to give British consumers reliable cheap green electricity. The good news is none of them involves spending any more taxpayer’s money. Firstly, remind those MPs, however senior, who demand lower energy bills that capping prices does nothing to cut costs. Secondly it’s competition which cuts energy costs, not price caps, so get tougher now in areas where it doesn’t exist. Thirdly, introduce competition to cut the cost of green energy. At present support for low carbon electricity generators is dished out through contracts for difference which guarantee them a fixed return. Fourthly, recognise the limits on how far a modern economy, whose business and domestic consumers depend on an uninterrupted supply of electricity, can rely on intermittent energy sources. The welcome fall in the price of renewables doesn’t mean they can meet all our energy needs. Bloomberg New Energy Finance warned recently that even in 2040 there will be entire months in Britain and Germany when wind and solar produce little energy. Finally, since by 2040 gas will be too polluting to have more than a small role, nuclear will still be needed as a reliable generator of clean electricity. This arithmetically unavoidable conclusion is anathema to anti-nuclear campaigners, who have mistakenly seized on the high strike price for Hinkley Point C to claim that nuclear is unaffordable.
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