U.K. Gets 18 Gigawatts of Power Plant Applications

The U.K. received applications to build more than 18 gigawatts of power plants under a temporary program in place until Parliament passes a new energy law, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey said.

A total of 57 applications for so-called investment contracts were submitted before the July 1 cutoff date, Davey told lawmakers in the House of Commons today, suggesting not all of the applications will be approved.

He was responding to concerns that the risk of power failures is rising in the U.K. as old generation plants retire. Caroline Flint, the opposition Labour Party lawmaker who shadows Davey, raised the matter during the minister’s monthly question session in Parliament today.

The energy regulator Ofgem said on June 27 that the probability of major power shortages will increase to about once in 12 years in 2015 from once in 47 years now.

“Our record has seen energy investment doubling,” from the previous administration, Davey said, citing average annual investment in energy infrastructure of 8.5 billion pounds ($13 billion) from 2010 through 2012. “Our electricity market reform and other measures are designed to continue this investment surge and sustain it.”

The power plant proposals announced by Davey are under the government’s Final Investment Decision Enabling program, which is designed to ensure utilities can advance plans for new generation capacity before the government passes electricity market reform measures that are being debated in Parliament.