HC Deb 09 July 1979 vol 970 cc19-20W
41. Mr. Abse

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether the decision to fund the building of an AGR nuclear power station at Heysham is based upon the planning margin on the electricity grid of 35 per cent. and whether he will initiate an inquiry into the unreliability of the existing generating capacity which has prompted the intention to raise the present planning margin.

Mr. Norman Lamont

Investment approval for Heysham II was based on a planning margin of 28 per cent. adopted by the electricity supply industry in 1977. There is no intention to increase this margin.

Mr. Abse

asked the Secretary of State for Energy why the planning margin of the electricity grid is higher in Great Britain than any country; whether he will publish a comparative study of the planning margin used in the United Kingdom in relation to other industrial countries; and whether he would reduce expenditure on nuclear power stations by improving the efficiency of the existing electricity generating plant.

Mr. Norman Lamont

Comparisons of the planing margins in different countries are extremely difficult to make because of differing security standards and plant types. I am advised that in so far as a comparison can be made, the planning margin in England and Wales does not compare unfavourably with those abroad. The CEGB already operates its existing generating plant at the maximum possible efficiency. Power stations in Scotland and Northern Ireland are matters for my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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