Energy Bill gets mixed response – industry reaction

Renewable Energy Installer brings you all the latest industry reaction to this week’s publication of the Energy Bill.

Maria McCaffery, RenewableUK chief executive: “This is proof that the treasury really does get it – the renewable energy industry offers one of our best hopes for economic recovery. This will stimulate billions of pounds worth of investment in renewables, creating more than 88,000 jobs in wind, wave and tidal energy alone by 2021. It will enable us to hit our 2020 renewable energy targets, and make sure renewables can play their part in protecting UK consumers from unstable international power markets.”

Ben Caldecott, head of policy, Climate Change Capital: “The £7.6bn financial commitment, together with the creation of robust, new price-certain contracts, are significant victories that have created a framework for investment to flow.

“As investors and investment advisors, we are not unduly concerned about the current lack of a decarbonisation target in the Energy Bill, which is after all, meant to be implementing robust targets already enshrined in law. There is already a clear legal commitment to build a cleaner, better energy system.

“By including a government backed counter-party for new contracts, investors will have certainty allowing for a lower cost of capital and a better deal for consumers.”

John Cridland, CBI director-general: “This package will send a strong signal to investors that the government is serious about providing firms with the certainty they need to invest in affordable secure low-carbon energy.

“We now have political agreement on this critical issue and the government should get the bill on the statute books as quickly as possible.

“As more details emerge, the government should ensure that those households and businesses most vulnerable to increased energy prices are protected.”

Mark Kenber, ceo of The Climate Group: “The long-awaited Energy Bill, despite its positive elements and increased support for renewables, is a missed opportunity. It does not put emissions reduction at the heart of the UK’s energy policy. It does not put the UK on a long-term low-carbon, sustainable, clean energy path. The Bill is more of a grand compromise; and like all compromises it deals more with the present and the short-term than with the future. 

“Unless there is long-term certainty for investors and clear signals that this country is open for low carbon business in the long-term the UK will be left behind in the global cleantech race. The jobs that could be coming to the UK are going to go elsewhere. If we do not lead, we are bound to follow others who will.” 

REA chief executive Gaynor Hartnell: “The commitment of the necessary budget for the renewable power sector to meet its share of the 2020 target, is very welcome news. This should help to draw a line under the recent politicking, which has been so damaging to investor confidence.

“Today’s announcements finally give a suggestion that the government is getting behind the renewables agenda, which promises 400,000 green jobs across power, heat and transport by 2020, along with a much more secure energy future.”

STA ceo Paul Barwell said: “After a damaging period of infighting, today the government has given a strong signal of its commitment to the renewables industry with clear financial backing. However, we are still waiting to see if non-domestic solar will receive the support it requires to continue to reduce costs. By investing decisively today, our industry can deliver consumers real choice and freedom from rising energy bills before the end of the decade.”

Professor Elmes, professor of practice and academic director for the Warwick Global Energy: “We are concerned this bill still fails to provide a clear framework for a successful future.  The prime minister’s commitment to be the ‘greenest government ever’ has been fudged by pushing any decision on a target for decarbonising electricity until after the next election.”

“In work here at Warwick Business School we have studied the decisions and investments that companies may need to take to meet the world’s future needs for energy.

“One set of future scenarios we considered were developed by Shell, the international energy company.  They contrasted a planned and orderly future they called Blueprint with a less certain, more chaotic future they called Scramble.  By pushing out key decisions, the UK has less of a blueprint for the future and faces more of a scramble where environmental commitments the government has signed up to may be missed and the investments needed to keep the lights on may not be made in time.”