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U.K. Keeps Energy Reforms on Track
Date:10 May 2012
The U.K. government Wednesday confirmed that long-awaited legislation to reform the electricity market to encourage the billions of pounds investment needed into low-carbon energy such as wind farms and nuclear plants would go to lawmakers within the next 12 months. The legislative plans, which were announced by the Queen in the state opening of Parliament, represent the biggest shakeup of the U.K.'s electricity market since privatization in the 1990s made it one of the most liberalized energy markets in the world. "My government will propose reform of the electricity market to deliver secure, clean and affordable electricity and ensure prices are fair," the Queen told Parliament. Although the Queen's Speech is delivered by the monarch, its content is drawn up by the government. The news will be a relief to investors in renewables, including utilities and wind developers, that have been seeking assurance the bill was on track following reports last week that it could be delayed. The Energy Bill will include incentives for low-carbon power generation as well as a mechanism to support the gas plants needed as backup when intermittent renewables such as wind aren't generating power. It will also introduce an emissions cap for power plants to ensure that new coal-fired power plants aren't built without carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.