Energy UK, the country’s energy trade association, has published a report in which it outlines the necessary steps the industry believes the Government must take to transition to a low-carbon economy, including the need for energy efficiency to become a national priority for policy makers.
The need for strong policy certainty in the UK is a long way from reality, sadly, given the many machinations of the current Government, which has out-and-out attempted to weasel out of clean energy and climate targets, delayed necessary policy decisions, and will likely create further uncertainty as the country heads to a surprise general election. However, UK environmental and energy organizations are all attempting to mitigate the problems by imploring the Government to give some sign of how it will support the climate, environment, and energy industry moving forward. Just this week, a joint-letter signed by eleven organizations and numerous well-known advocates called on the UK Government not to “scale down” environmental measures in an imaginary effort to smooth post-Brexit trade deals. At the same time, renewable energy trade bodies in the UK called on the Government to ensure that clean technologies were apart of the long-awaited Industrial Strategy.
Joining the call, therefore, Energy UK — the country’s trade association for the energy industry as a whole — published a new report in which it outlines the industry’s vision and recommendations for how the Government should help to drive the country’s transition to a low-carbon economy. The new report, Pathways to a low carbon future, calls for “a whole system approach” to developing a low-carbon society which will require “a vision to take us through the transition and transformation necessary, with buy-in from government, all political parties, the public, business, and industry.”
“Our new report highlights the need for a long-term, certain and holistic policy framework that will ensure the UK meets its carbon targets at the least cost to consumers,” explained Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK.
“As the report from the Committee on Climate Change found only last month energy efficiency measures have already been cancelling out the low carbon policy costs for the typical household. The industry believes that energy efficiency should be a national priority to make the transition to a low carbon economy more affordable for both consumers and businesses.
“To tackle climate change we need to have an honest debate about benefits and costs. All sectors including heat and transport need to work together and play their part in the same way the energy industry has done for decades.”
Among the key messages the report puts forward, it deems it most important that policies for power, heat, and transport are better coordinated, and that policy evolution does not undermine past, current, and future investment opportunities due to unforeseen regulatory changes. This is especially important as the transport and heat sectors are set to undergo an electrification which will increase the role of the power sector. As such, the authors of the report state that the country’s Electricity Market Reform program already provides “the right tools for the transition” and that competitive access to support schemes “ensures that the market can deliver at least cost to consumers.”
“Energy UK believes the power sector will continue to decarbonise, through a range of low carbon technologies,” the authors of the new report conclude. “Many of these technologies still require financing support to compete effectively with more traditional forms of generation. Setting out the funding available through the Contracts for Difference at least four years ahead of delivery will help provide investors with the information needed to get low carbon projects delivered.”
Further, delivering on their belief that energy efficiency needs to be a top priority, the report notes that “UK homes are highly energy inefficient compared with our European neighbours, if we want to meet our fifth carbon budget targets, much more needs to be done to reduce the amount of energy required to heat our homes.”
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