Government proposals to build more nuclear power were welcomed by business leaders last night.
The plans were contained in the Energy Review outlined by Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling.
He linked the return to nuclear power generation with the need to reduce the country's rising dependence on imported oil and gas as North Sea supplies dwindle.
Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which speaks for 4,000 companies employing 300,000 people, said it welcomed the review but warned more needs to be done to improve energy efficiency.
With energy consumption increasing and Britain facing the prospect of having to import more supplies from abroad, a number of measures have been recommended to ease blackout worries.
Chamber policy executive Charlotte Ritchie said: "If the Government is serious about reducing carbon emissions and maintaining the supply of electricity then building new nuclear plants is the only realistic choice.
"That's not to say we should discount making use of renewable energy sources. In our submission to the Government earlier this year we called for greater support for research and development, helping the UK become a global leader in new energy technologies.
"We still need that to happen. Businesses can't afford to be plunged into darkness because of short-sighted measures.
"Fossil fuels will eventually run dry and it is unfeasible for the UK to be importing as much as 90 per cent of its gas supply by 2020, which is one scenario that has been publicised.
"Nuclear has proved itself to be safe and provides a continuation of supply. Of course there are environmental concerns, but the kind of R&D we are calling for will also aid in the safe disposal of toxic waste."
Gas and coal-fired power stations will continue to be an integral part of any energy strategy over the next two decades but are dwindling resources, Ms Ritchie said.
CBI director-general Rich-ard Lambert said the propos-als would give business the confidence to invest in new energy projects.
The review recognised the need for "swift action" to ensure the country could meet its future energy demands while securing supply and recognising environmental concerns, he said.
"Ministers are correct to include both nuclear and renewable power in their thinking.
"Streamlining the planning process for new power infrastructure and establishing a long-term pricing mechanism for carbon will help give business confidence to invest in both.
"A level playing field for all forms of energy provision will allow the market to deliver more secure, cleaner and affordable electricity.
"New power plants must go hand-in-hand with greater energy efficiency. The commercial sector is prepared to play its part and individuals and households must do so too."
Mr Lambert went on to say the Government should now hold "proper but not drawn-out" consultation to produce energy policies which deliver on this promising start".
He added: "The very real fears of gas shortages for UK business last winter were a grim warning of the consequences of not planning for the future.
"The Government must show it has learned the lesson by making final decisions on the UK's energy future before the end of the year."