Utilising the storage potential of the North Sea could enable energy suppliers to build more coal-fired power stations using carbon capture and storage (CCS), according to Ed Miliband.
The minister for energy and climate change said there is the potential for 100 years' worth of carbon dioxide to be stored under the North Sea if CCS technology proves viable, which would mean plants fired using fossil fuels could be part of Britain's energy future.
CCS technology is still being tested, but it could help sustain the UK's energy sector, while also creating additional jobs around the storage process itself.
Mr Miliband said: "We are also working closely with Norway and other North Sea Basin countries to ensure the North Sea fulfils its potential in the deployment of CCS in Europe."
The government is pursuing nuclear redevelopment and renewable technology to help consumers switch energy for a cleaner supply, but progress remains slow and the UK may rely on coal for many years to come.
French-owned energy company EDF is leading new reactor construction in Britain.
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