Wholesale electricity prices have been predicted to rise by at least 40 percent over the next ten years, according to a survey of 71 leading industry figures.

The Power Predictor Survey 2012, conducted by SmartestEnergy, interviewed independent generators, energy buyers and brokers.

More than 90 percent of those questioned in the survey said they believed prices in 2021 will be higher in real terms than in 2011.

More than a third of survey respondents said they believed wholesale prices will be between £70-£79.99/MWh. A further 29 percent predicted prices will hit at least £80/MWh, which is more than 60 percent higher than the current rates. Only 8.4 percent believed prices will be the same or lower than today.

The average price predicted was just over £70/MWh compared to the £49/MWh average seen over the past year; this marks an increase of 43 percent.

“While it is impossible to forecast with any certainty what will happen over the next decade, it is clear from our survey that many in the industry are bracing themselves for significant increases,” said Robert Groves, Chief Executive of SmartestEnergy.

“Wholesale prices have already more than doubled since 2001 and a continued upward trend presents major challenges as well as exciting opportunities for the energy entrepreneurs we work with.”

Environmental campaigner Jonathon Porritt, keynote speaker at an event celebrating SmartestEnergy’s anniversary, predicted the next decade would see “astonishing changes” in the way energy is generated, stored, distributed and consumed.  The former director of Friends of the Earth made a number of predictions about how the energy sector will develop by 2021 including reaching grid parity for solar PV within five years and the rapid development of carbon capture and storage projects.