'Crucial months' for UK energy policy

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The next few months will be crucial for energy policy in the UK, it has been claimed.

Energy minister Malcolm Wicks says that decisions over the next few weeks will determine whether the country is able to meet demand over the next two decades - as climate change and the geopolitics surrounding energy supply threatens to become one of the determining forces of the 21st century.

"No one wants the lights to be going out in 20 years time. I'm not saying they will. They won't. But they won't because of the decisions we will be taking over the rest of the year," Mr Wicks is quoted by the Guardian as saying.

The government is carrying out a five-month consultation on its plans to build a new generation of nuclear power plants, following a judicial review on the matter.

"The government made a decision in principle that nuclear should - could, depending on commercial people coming forward - be part of the energy mix we require.

"That was a decision in principle. We were taken to judicial review and we lost, therefore we are engaging in a new consultation and we take that consultation very seriously."

Mr Wicks admitted that he thought humans would be burning fossil fuels for another "100 years" - but he did identify carbon capture and storage as one technology that looks particularly promising, saying that it is "one of those happy areas where the ethical and the environmental, the commercial and the profitable, come together".

Mr Wicks has just been appointed to his second spell in the post of energy minister.

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