HC Deb 15 June 1959 vol 607 cc23-4
48. Mr. Darling

asked the Paymaster-General what is his estimate of the percentage increase in electricity supply between 1960 and 1965; and what proportions of this increase are expected to be derived from coal, oil, nuclear energy and other sources, such as water power and undersea cables, respectively.

Mr. Maudling

Electricity supply is expected to increase by almost 40 per cent., of which nearly two-thirds is expected to come from coal and rather more than a third from nuclear power. There will be a small reduction in the use of oil, partially offset by a slight increase in hydro generation.

Mr. Darling

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that last week we had one or two peculiar Answers about this kind of problem from the Parliamentary Secretary, and is he aware that we have been very pleased to hear from him today that coal has a very bright future in regard to one customer at any rate?

Mr. Maudling

I do not think that there has been any doubt for some time on the point that the demand for coal for electricity generation will certainly rise steadily.

Mr. Palmer

In these estimates of future demand for electricity, has the right hon. Gentleman taken into account the possibility of a somewhat smaller nuclear power programme? Is it not a fact that the Central Electricity Generating Board would, if left to its own devices, rather prefer to have a smaller nuclear power programme?

Mr. Maudling

I am certainly not aware of any such proposal by the Central Electricity Generating Board, and, of course, the estimates are based on advice given us by the Board itself.