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Electricity Demand/Capacity

Volume 508: debated on Thursday 8 April 2010

11. What recent estimate he has made of the level of additional electricity generating capacity that will be required by 2015. (325616)

It is estimated that around 16 GW of existing electricity generating capacity—coal, gas, oil and nuclear—will close by 2015. Some 2.3 GW of new generating capacity was commissioned last year, 10.1 GW is currently under construction, 11.3 GW has both planning permission and permission to connect to the grid, and a further 18.5 GW is in the planning process in England and Wales. This new capacity, as well as energy efficiency measures, means that there will be sufficient capacity in 2015.

I am interested in what the Minister says, because it seems to be at variance with what Ofgem and others say. The Secretary of State talked about the greatest hits of my hon. Friend the Member for Tunbridge Wells (Greg Clark). I would rather go back to Gold radio station, which I listen to because it plays music from the 1960s and 1970s, and that reminds me of when I sat by candlelight through the power cuts. Does the Minister think that Ofgem and others are wrong when they say that they expect power cuts within the next decade?

There is a difference between facts and projections for the future. I have just given the hon. Gentleman the facts as they are today. Project Discovery was all about stress-testing the system, using scenarios that would put it under stress. What the hon. Gentleman can see from the statistics that I have given him from the Dispatch Box is that there is more than sufficient capacity to 2015.

Can the Minister assure me that the production of aircraft carriers will not be threatened by a lack of generating capacity, given that the manufacture of the aircraft carriers is already threatened by the Opposition?

My hon. Friend’s chutzpah is remarkable, enabling him to get aircraft carriers into a question about capacity. I assure him that all reasonably foreseeable demands on the electricity system are catered for in the answer that I gave.