UK electricity generators may have to reduce their carbon emissions significantly by 2030 if a controversial target is included in the country's new energy bill. A UK parliamentary committee scrutinising the energy bill completed its work last week, adding an amendment that would force the government to introduce a legally binding 'decarbonisation' target by April 2014.
The amendment is likely to spark renewed and vociferous debate about the future mix of UK electricity generation. Many Conservatives are expected to oppose it, as their party has sought to delay discussion of a decarbonisation target until 2016 at the earliest. But the amendment is likely to win the support of many Liberal Democrat members of parliament who share power with the Conservatives in the UK's coalition government.
Addressing the parliamentary committee last month, UK energy minister, Ed Davey, emphasised that there is strong support from a "vast majority" of energy sector companies for a 2030 decarbonisation target.
Introduction of a 2030 decarbonisation target, some argue, would strengthen the commercial position of the UK offshore wind industry, as the sector can deliver both large-scale and low-carbon capacity that can be built relatively quickly.
The energy bill will be debated by the full House of Commons some time this spring, then have a quick final reading and pass into law.