Firms call for decarbonising target

An alliance of the UK’s largest businesses and industry bodies have today written to the chancellor George Osborne calling for a binding decarbonisation target to be imposed on the electricity sector in the forthcoming Energy Bill.

Signatories argue that a target is essential for stimulating new growth in the economy and that recent statements endorsing the continued and unabated use of gas post 2030 is damaging business confidence in the UK’s green sector.

Seven major power companies, including Alstom, Mitsubishi, Siemens and Vestas, have also written to the energy secretary Ed Davey asking for a binding carbon target despite constructing gas power stations themselves.

Commenting on the two letters, Friends of the Earth director of policy and campaigns, Craig Bennett, said: “These letters leave George Osborne totally isolated in his damaging dash for gas.

“Leading politicians from all parties, top businesses and even the companies building new power stations have all called for a binding target to green our electricity by 2030.

“These firms have given a clear and resounding signal of the reassurances they need from Government to enable them to invest in UK energy in the future.

“The Chancellor must stop obstructing green investment that’s poised to create hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

Gaynor Hartnell, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association, added: “Today’s letters from the business community warn that a failure to commit to green growth will cost the UK dearly. This builds on reports earlier this year by the CBI (which explained the green growth imperative) and ourselves (which revealed the potential for 400,000 jobs in renewables by 2020).

“It is now or never for the coalition government. We have the resource potential and engineering and financial expertise to be a global leader in renewables – but a lack of clarity from government risks leaving us stuck at the back of the pack.

“Mainstream businesses, from our supermarkets to the big blue chip tech firms, know that renewables are the way forward for UK plc. This is not about saving the planet, it’s about businesses planning for the future and maintaining their competitiveness in the 21st century.”