The government is today stepping up its consultation on its energy white paper, including whether nuclear power stations should be built or not.
As part of the 20-week consultation period, 12 regional stakeholder events will be held to gauge views on Britain's future energy needs.
Energy minister Malcolm Wicks is today attending the first such meeting in Newcastle where the opinions of green groups, energy companies, businesses, consumer groups, unions, faith groups and academies will be heard.
Speaking ahead of his visit, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) minister described finding a sustainable energy solution for the UK as "one of the biggest challenges of our time".
"The government's energy white paper sets out a range of responses, including increased energy efficiency, carbon capture and storage and more renewable generation such as offshore wind farms," he said.
"This is a big decision with consequences either way. It's critical that we listen to all the views and get it right."
The white paper has already proved controversial after then prime minister Tony Blair voiced his support for a new generation of nuclear power stations in a speech earlier this year ahead of the opening of the consultation period.
Published in May, it sets targets of cutting CO2 emissions by 60 per cent within the next four decades, with "real progress" expected by 2020.