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Osborne expected to push new gas plants for UK energy

New gas plants are set to become a valuable source of work in the UK, with the chancellor expected to announce a new capacity push for 30 gas plants tomorrow in the autumn statement.

The government is set to establish tax incentives and a new body to encourage the development of shale gas as part of an increased push for gas plants to ensure UK energy supply.

The move is likely to lead to criticism from environmental lobbyists, but could prove to be a strong alternative if new nuclear plans suffer from further delays.

Speaking to CN last month, Balfour Beatty UK construction services chief executive Mike Peasland said that new gas stations would “inevitably have to fill the gap” with the delay of new nuclear power stations.

Speaking at a DECC press briefing last week, energy minister John Hayes also said he was looking at increasing gas storage through auctions in plans to be set out following the autumn statement.

Speaking after the publication of the Energy Bill last week, EC Harris UK head of energy Mark Stewart said: “The gas industry appears to be the biggest winner and if a more detailed strategy is included as part of the autumn statement, there could be imminent movement in terms of building new CCG plants and gas storage facilities.

“A focus on gas makes sense in the short-term as it could help deliver the capacity required to keep the lights on, whilst its relative cleanliness compared with thermal based fuels, will enable the government to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint, albeit at a slower pace.”

Chancellor George Osborne has consistently lobbied for increased gas production, despite reservations from senior ministers within coalition partners the Liberal Democrats.

The Guardian reported that the gas strategy to be unveiled tomorrow will say: “Both now and in the future we need a diverse generation mix that balances risks and uncertainties of different technology options … the government expects that gas will continue to play a major role in our electricity mix over the coming decades, alongside low-carbon technologies as we decarbonise our electricity system.”

It will add: “In 2030 we could need more overall gas capacity than we have today.”

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