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Less wind, more nuclear for UK energy future -CBI

* Report urges urgent steps towards new nuclear reactors

* Sees nuclear, not gas, as main source in low-carbon plan

* Coal plants to use carbon capture and storage

LONDON, July 13 (Reuters) - Britain needs to build more nuclear reactors and cleaner coal plants while putting less emphasis on wind power if it wants a secure low-carbon future, business lobby group CBI said on Monday.

The CBI said in a report that current British government policy, which favours wind power, is making energy security and climate change targets harder to achieve because it will lead to less investment in other forms of low-carbon electricity generation.

“Large chunks of our energy infrastructure urgently need replacing,” deputy-director general of the CBI, John Cridland, said.

“While we have generous subsidies for wind power, we urgently need the national planning statements needed to build new nuclear plants. If we carry on like this we will end up putting too many of our energy eggs in one basket.”

The CBI’s “Decision Time” study, published on Monday, examined various scenarios for Britain’s energy future.

The CBI said that if its recommendations were not followed, Britain’s power generation would be reliant on gas-fired power stations and only 64 percent of Britain’s energy would be generated by low carbon methods by 2030.

This is below the 78 percent target recommended by the Committee on Climate Change, an independent body advising the government.

The CBI said its “Balanced Pathway” plan would lead to 83 percent of Britain’s energy being produced by low carbon sources. Most electricity would come from nuclear, supplying 34 percent, instead of gas, with coal fired plants fitted with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology supplying 14 percent, the CBI said.

To achieve this target, wind-generated power would fall from the current target for 2020 of 32 percent to 25 percent of Britain’s total power generation, the group said, adding that clear funding for CCS must be in place by June 2010.

Other factors in the model included reducing Britain’s overall energy demand from an existing policy of an 11 percent cut by 2020 to 20 percent through efficiency drives.

POWER THINKING

Several major energy companies welcomed the report, saying it provided an independent assessment of energy policy.

"It challenges some of the orthodox thinking around renewable targets," National Grid NG.L Chief Executive Steve Holliday said, adding that the conventional view was that the goals could only be attained by wind power.

He said he did not see the report as recommending switching wind power for nuclear.

“I see it as gas for nuclear in this (Balanced Pathway) scenario,” he said.

Utility companies EDF Energy EDF.PA and E.ON UK EONGn.DE also said the report was important in raising difficult energy issues with the Government.

“We strongly endorse the conclusion that a diverse low carbon generation mix, with contributions from nuclear, renewables and fossil fuel with CCS is essential to our future,” EDF Energy Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz said.

A report published by consultancy Poyry earlier this month warned against relying on wind power, saying that unpredictable weather patterns could result in price spikes and threaten investment in back up power generation. [ID:nL1062959] (Reporting by Kwok W. Wan, editing by Anthony Barker)

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