Government climate advisers warn gas will add more to energy bills

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Government climate advisers have warned that domestic energy bills could be up to £600 higher per year in the next couple of decades - if the UK relies too heavily on gas.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) findings also showed that bills would only be around £100 higher if a move to renewable energy sources, such as windpower was made - something previous think tank research had already suggested.

In fact, the research by the think tank Cambridge Economics, suggested the UK economy could be as much as £20bn better off by 2030, if a change was made to use the renewable energy source of windpower rather than the development of new gas stations which George Osborne gave the nod to last week.

The CCC cited the Government's own research to show that the main reasons for bills rising since 2004 were the increase in international prices for gas, and also the continued investment in electricity and gas networks.

Commercial and industrial users were also likely to see higher energy bills due to their costs revolving more around electricity as opposed to gas bills. The research showed that business energy bills could rise by about 20-25% from 2011 to 2020 due to various low-carbon policies.

At present gas continues to play a significant part in UK energy supplies, accounting for about 40% of UK electricity production in 2011 alone.

However, environmental groups are not happy about the perceived 'dash for gas'.

The UK energy company EDF, part of the Warm Home Discount Scheme, saw its new gas power station in West Burton become the scene of a recent 'dash for gas' protest by activists frustrated by the Government's continued focus on the use of gas.

Speaking on the CCC research, the policy director for Greenpeace, Doug Parr, said: "This report confirms that George Osborne's dash for gas could cripple households with bills up to £600 more in coming decades than if we invest in low-carbon energy.

"The chancellor's gas gamble is risking people's wallets as well as the planet. Clean energy will not only insulate bill payers from volatile gas prices and ensure the UK meets its climate targets, but it will mean new green jobs and industries."

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