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Energy Bill outlined in Queen’s Speech

Legislation is to be introduced to improve energy efficiency in British homes and businesses, to promote low carbon energy and to secure the UK's energy supplies, it was announced today (May 25) as part of the Queen's Speech.

The Energy Bill is intended to create a "step-change" in the provision of energy efficiency measures to homes and businesses, and to put in place a framework to deliver secure, low carbon energy supplies and fair competition in the energy markets.

The Queen's Speech also said that the Government would also seek effective global collaboration to combat climate change, including at the climate change conference in Mexico later this year.

The speech, which followed the State Opening of Parliament, focused primarily on tackling the current financial situation, with the Queen stating: "The first priority is to reduce the deficit and restore economic growth."

The speech comes after the coalition government last week revealed plans for an offshore electricity grid, higher targets for energy from renewable sources and an Annual Energy Statement to Parliament in its Programme for Government

Energy and climate change secretary, Chris Huhne, said:"The Queen's Speech and last week's programme of government make clear that energy security and taking real action to tackle climate change aren't add on extras for this new government, but are vital to our national interest.

"The Energy Bill is designed to help consumers put a stop to wasting energy in their homes through a green deal while making sure our energy system is fit for the 21st century."

Bill

The Energy Bill is expected to roll out a national programme of energy efficiency measures to homes and businesses.

It may also introduce powers to regulate the emissions from coal-fired power stations, reform energy markets to deliver security of supply and ensure fair competition, and put in place a framework to guide the development of a smart grid that will revolutionise the management of supply and demand for electricity.

The main elements of the Bill are:

• Implementation of a "Green deal" to deliver energy efficiency to homes and business - delivering a framework including potential incentives to energy suppliers and households that will transform the provision of energy efficiency in the UK by enabling a ‘pay as you save' approach. 

The Bill may also contain measures to:

• Regulate the carbon emissions from coal-fired power stations 

• Reform energy markets to deliver security of supply and ensure fair competition. to help with Business energy costs 

• Put in place a framework to guide the development of a smart grid that will revolutionise the management of supply and demand for electricity 

• Require energy companies to provide more information on energy bills in order to empower consumers and to ensure fair access to energy supplies 

• Ensure that North Sea infrastructure is available to all companies to ease the exploitation of smaller and more difficult oil and gas fields 

• Create a Green Investment Bank to support investment in low carbon projects to transform the economy

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