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Coalition Fight it out over the Energy Bill

Senior politicians are due to meet this week to discuss the Energy Bill, the piece of legislation that will play a big part in determining the future of our energy industry (and the size of your business energy bills).

Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the Chancellor George Osborne, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey are the political big-hitters who will be doing the talking. And in that group there’s one very key area of disagreement: gas.

Osborne wants to the Bill to promote investment in gas, including building new gas-fired power stations and a cut in subsidies for renewable energy, which he argues will keep bills down. Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats in the room (Clegg, Alexander and Davey) want support for renewable energy to continue, which they think will keep bills down, as well as meaning the UK meets its climate change targets.

So who is right? Which approach will mean cheaper bills for your business?

On the one hand, gas could be in plentiful supply in the future if fracking goes ahead on a large scale, but that comes with fears around carbon and climate change, and that’s before you even consider the arguments over the potential environmental dangers unique to fracking.

On the other hand, renewable energy is seen to have huge potential once the technology and infrastructure is in place. But while you don’t have to worry about that resource running out and there are no carbon emissions, renewable energy has a long way to go before it can take the place of fossil fuels in our national fuel mix. At present 11% of electricity generated comes from renewable sources.

The immediate and long-term future of UK energy rests on this debate and the final form of the Energy Bill. The hope is that the ultimate winner is the consumer and not partisan politics as some issues transcend this level. The future of our energy supply is one such instance.

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