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Energy white paper set for publication in 'matter of weeks'

Image: Getty.

Image: Getty.

The long-awaited energy white paper is due to be published in “a matter of weeks”, according to junior energy minister Lord Duncan.

Responding to questions in the House of Lords, Lord Duncan confirmed “there will be an energy white paper in a matter of weeks”.

Following the publication of the white paper, there Is also set to be a transportation decarbonisation plan, a heat policy road map, a net zero consultation, an aviation consultation and an English tree strategy, Lord Duncan said.

The white paper was originally set to be published in summer 2019 but has since been delayed on several occasions. In October, energy secretary Andrea Leadsom revealed the white paper wouldn’t be published until Q1 2020.

The white paper will detail the UK’s path to net zero by 2050, including the technologies set to receive support. The government has already announced plans to increase the UK’s offshore capacity to 40GW by 2030.

Speaking to the BEIS select committee in October, Leadsom also outlined the role for carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) in the UK and said it would be “fantastic” to be able to include nuclear fusion in the white paper but that it might be “too optimistic at this stage”.

The affirmation that the white paper’s publication is imminent comes in a week where COP26 was launched by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, announcing plans to bring forward the petrol and diesel phase-out and the coal phase-out.

However, former energy minister and former COP26 president Claire O’Neill launched a scathing attack on the PM this week over the lack of leadership and support for the UN Climate Change Conference, as well as more generally climate action in the UK.

Lord Duncan said the white paper and raft of plans, road maps and consultations are to fit into the timeline “taking us toward COP26 in Glasgow”.

“I commit my department to meet regularly to discuss the emerging policies on the road to COP26,” Lord Duncan continued.

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