Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has unveiled plans to bring forward the start of the Capacity Market to 2017, a year earlier than previously planned.

The proposal came as Rudd laid out the UK Government’s Capacity Market reforms, which included buying more electricity capacity and buying it earlier.

She said the proposals would allow more infrastructure to be built, especially gas-fired power stations.

“The Capacity Market has driven down costs and secured energy at the lowest possible price for bill-payers, but I’m taking further action to tackle the legacy of under-investment and ensure our country’s long-term energy security. By buying more capacity earlier we will protect consumers and businesses from avoidable spikes in energy costs,” said Rudd.

“We’re also sending a clear signal to investors that will encourage the secure and clean energy sources we need to come forward – such as gas and interconnectors – as part of our long-term plan to build a system of energy infrastructure fit for the 21st century”. A consultation on her proposals runs until 1 April.

Protect local energy generation, urges ADE

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of trade body Energy UK, said: “With the phasing out of coal, the Capacity Market is the right mechanism to bring forward new investment to ensure customers have electricity any time they need it.

“Government’s proposed reforms including the increase in capacity, the tighter delivery incentives and bringing forward the first Capacity Market delivery are the right steps to guarantee future energy security based on new flexible capacity.”

Tim Rotheray, Director of the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE), added: “Government is right to reduce pollution and inefficiency in the Capacity Market and some of these proposals will help.

“However, any effort to discourage diesel farms must protect the ongoing participation of local energy users, like industrial manufacturers, local authorities, distributed generators like combined heat and power, and demand side response providers.”

> Read the consultation

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