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Report (3rd Day)

Part of Infrastructure Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 9:45 pm on 10th November 2014.

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Photo of Baroness Worthington Baroness Worthington Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change) 9:45 pm, 10th November 2014

My Lords, I thank the Minister for her response. It may well be true that up to 10 gigawatts has bid into the capacity market but my point is that not one of those apart from Carrington, which is already under construction, will successfully be awarded a capacity mechanism contract. They are going to be frozen out by contracts that will be given to existing coal. It is pointless telling me that lots of people out there want to build gas if in reality we are going to keep coal open at the expense of those investments in cleaner, more efficient technology.

We have spent the largest part of this evening talking about fracking rather than the need to develop the resource of gas so that we can use it as a bridging fuel. There is absolutely no point us investing in that if there are not going to be any stations in which we can burn it efficiently. The losers in this capacity mechanism at the moment are the operators of existing gas stations and those who wish to build new ones. That is because we continue to tell ourselves that the lights will go out if we constrain coal and that that will necessarily force a higher price on to consumers. The money we are spending on propping up old coal is going to be money wasted—we will have to shut these stations anyway at some point. Why we seem to be perpetually telling ourselves that we cannot do without these ageing dinosaurs in our electricity system is beyond me.

I do not intend to detain the House any longer at this stage and I will, of course, withdraw my amendment. However, I reiterate the words of Dr Gross from Imperial College that we will not see the end of old coal without government intervention. If this Government refuse to do it then it will fall to another Government. There is a future for coal; it is with CCS and only with

CCS. Unabated coal is simply not something we should be sustaining through the 21st century and no end of anyone telling me otherwise is going to persuade me. However, I will withdraw this amendment now.

Amendment 119A withdrawn.

Clause 39: Regulations and orders

Amendment 119B

Moved by Baroness Verma

119B: Clause 39, page 42, line 9, leave out “or 35” and insert “, 35 or 36”