Gas panic for greens over fracking funding

By staff

Up to 30 new gas power stations could be built by 2030, George Osborne is expected to announce tomorrow.

The chancellor will reportedly unveil a series of tax incentives and set up a new body to regulate shale gas extraction as part of tomorrow's autumn statements announcements.

His gas strategy could clash with the views of energy secretary Ed Davey, however. The Liberal Democrat Cabinet minister has previously made clear he does not believe that shale gas is "the answer" to Britain's energy problems.

Osborne may suggest cutting back Britain's carbon reduction goals, opening up the possibility of gas-powered stations producing half of the UK's total power generation capability by 2030.

The moves come after a tough year for coalition harmony on energy policy. Davey publicly clashed with his energy minister John Hayes over onshore wind farms – an issue back in the news today thanks to a report from the Cambridge Econometrics think-tank.

It argued that Britain's economy would be £20 billion a year better off if offshore wind expansion was backed over gas-fired  generation.

Davey is now temporarily out of the picture, attending the UN's climate change summit in Doha.

Tomorrow's autumn statement is also expected to include a relaunch of New Labour's discredited private finance initiative scheme. The move is likely to be welcomed by business groups.