George Osborne will use tomorrow’s Autumn Statement to launch a consultation on introducing substantial new tax reliefs for investment in gas-fuelled energy production.
Incentives are expected to be offered for up to 26 gigawatts of electricity generating capacity from gas by 2030 – equivalent to as many as 30 new power stations.
The government hopes that this will help keep domestic fuel bills down.
Last night a Treasury source said: “We’ll be showing that we remain committed to solving today’s problems but also preparing for tomorrow’s challenges and equipping Britain in the global race.”
In addition to the publication of a national gas strategy the government will set up an Office for Unconventional Gas, which will act as a single point of contact for investors and work across government departments to streamline the regulatory process for shale gas production.
There could be even more gas-sourced energy capacity if the government decides to reduce its tough emissions reduction targets.
Osborne has previously suggested that the UK should instead follow the slightly less ambitious targets followed by rival EU countries.