National Grid’s electricity capacity report for this year was published in July and includes a forward look on electricity security. Through competitive capacity auctions, we have already secured capacity from 2018-19 to 2020-21, and in January we will hold a further auction to secure capacity for 2017-18. Our most recent gas security analysis was published in October and shows that our diverse and flexible gas supply can meet demand even under severe weather conditions.
The importance of substantial gas storage to electricity generation and avoiding damaging price hikes was highlighted by the partial closure of the Rough storage facility. What are the Government doing to tackle the question of increasing gas storage for the future?
That is a proper and important question. Our gas supply arrangements are quite diverse, and we have more than 30% spare gas capacity even on a cold winter’s day. The system has been tested, and has responded well in the past to shocks, including higher than expected demand for heating or power and restrictions to supply infrastructure, but it is certainly something we keep under constant review.
All I can do is refer the hon. Gentleman to the earlier remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner (Mr Hurd) on this topic.
Will the Minister join me in congratulating Avalon community energy on completion of its solar PV installation at Brookside school in Street? Does he agree that such schemes create a greener and cheaper energy system and afford us greater security of supply?
I certainly do, and I am very glad that my hon. Friend has brought that to the attention of the House.
After the latest capacity auction, the overall scores for the procurement of new combined cycle gas generation plant stand at one small buildable plant over three auctions, at a total cost so far of £3 billion and £12 a year on customer bills. Does the Secretary of State have any other good ideas up his sleeve to secure the procurement and building of new capacity up to 2020?
As the hon. Gentleman will know, the gas capacity market auction was an enormous success. It secured a widespread diversity of supply at low cost and in higher amounts than ever before, and it included some innovative new technologies. The Department should be celebrated for managing this.