Adopting carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology on coal-fired power stations could elevate prices from energy suppliers.
Ed Miliband, the climate change and energy secretary, is looking to spend billions on the new technology which could help secure Britain's energy future by capturing harmful greenhouse gases emitted when coal is burned.
The minister is advocating the development of a special network to transport the captured gases to suitable storage locations, but the cost involved could be passed on to consumers at a time when many homeowners are already struggling with high bills.
John Sauven, executive director of environmental organisation Greenpeace, told the Guardian: "Mr Miliband should be focused on cutting emissions, not appeasing German energy giants like E.On who want to build a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth without guaranteeing it will capture and store any of its emissions."
An additional problem is that CCS technology has yet to be proved on a commercial level, while it has also yet to be decided who would take responsibility for the storage element.
Many industry experts believe coal-fired stations may be needed at least until new nuclear reactors come online in about 2017.
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