The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has broadly welcomed Labour leader Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze gas and electricity prices should his party win the 2015 general election.
Miliband made the bold statement at his party’s annual conference in Brighton promising to block energy price rises for a period of 20 months after taking power. Labour would also split up the major energy firms in an attempt to prevent overcharging and ‘reset’ the market.
Although the REA has given the thumbs up to any attempt to protect consumers from large price hikes, partly driven by escalating costs of fossil fuels, it has warned that low carbon investment should be protected if the UK is to meet its 2020 carbon reduction targets.
Support for renewable electricity currently accounts for £27 (2 percent) out of the average dual fuel household bill of £1,346, according to Ofgem figures.
“We welcome Ed Miliband’s commitment to decarbonising the energy mix by 2030 and his understanding that our sector is a huge opportunity for green jobs and sustainable growth,” said REA chief executive Dr Nina Skorupska.
“We also welcome his focus on consumer affordability, as volatile gas prices have been pushing bills up and up for several years now. The big question is: How can Labour square a major reform of the consumer energy market and a freeze on energy bills with the urgent need for investment in new low carbon generation?
“Investment is already on hold as government works through the details of Electricity Market Reform, so a freeze on bills must not be allowed to lead to another freeze in renewables investment. If we are to keep the lights on, boost our domestic energy supply, mitigate the risks of dangerous climate change, create green jobs in new industries and meet binding renewable energy targets, then we need to be accelerating the rate of growth in renewable energy and we cannot afford another investment hiatus.”