Utility Week

Utility Week 21st February 2014

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

Issue link: https://fhpublishing.uberflip.com/i/262834

Contents of this Issue


Page 14 of 31

UTILITY WEEK | 21sT - 27Th FEbrUarY 2014 | 15 Policy & Regulation Dorothy Thompson, chief executive of biomass generator Drax In politics "The climate's always been changing" Owen Paterson, June 2013 £3bn average annual renewable investment 2005-09 £8bn renewable investment in 2013 5% market share of independent players, a tenfold increase on 2010 Caroline Flint, shadow energy secretary Ed Davey, energy secretary 700,000 customers switched to an independent supplier in 2013 Britain's energy market is broken Analysis Davey seeks energy unity The energy secretary wants political consensus on energy, says Megan Darby W hich is the biggest threat to the decarbonisation agenda: climate change denial on the Conservative benches or Labour's energy price freeze? It is the one question to make Ed Davey pause for thought, aer a speech in which the Liberal Democrat energy secretary laid on thick criti- cism of both sides. He plumps for the former, although he diplomatically insists there is no climate change denial around the cabinet table. Such views are restricted to "a fairly small number from the Conservative backbenches". Davey claims not to have seen the sceptical com- ments by environment secretary Owen Pater- son that have led to calls for his resignation. (Paterson's views, that the climate has always been changing and there might even be benefits to warmer weather, are not new. His resolute silence on climate change, even as the prime minister linked it to the floods, has put the subject back on the table.) Davey is talking at the offices of thinktank IPPR about the need for political consensus on energy and climate change. The cross- party unity that passed the 2008 Climate Change Act and the 2013 Energy Act "is in danger of breaking down", he warns. He hits out at "wilfully ignorant, head in the sand, nimbyist conservatism", which combined with Europhobia makes a "diabol- ical cocktail" for energy and climate policy. He is also scathing of the "false analysis" of the energy market that led to Ed Miliband's infamous pledge to freeze prices. And Labour's plan to boost liquidity and competition by reintroducing a pool is based on outdated information, he adds: the share of energy traded in day-ahead markets has risen from 6 per cent in 2010 to more than half in 2013. Contrary to Labour's claims, Davey says annual renewable investment more than doubled to nearly £8 billion in 2013. Decc will publish a report on energy investment before the summer recess, he says. Curiously, the party Davey mentions least is his own. Yet the tone of his speech is very Liberal Democrat, returning to the theme of "politics for the common good" and firmly holding the middle ground. "I fear that the political consensus on energy and climate change that's been so crucial in making progress to date is in danger of breaking down" …on the left: "A price freeze… threatens to choke off the very investment in renewables and energy infrastructure that the country desperately needs" …on the right: "Fringes of the Conservative Party and UKIP are parroting the arguments of the most discredited climate change deniers"

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Utility Week - Utility Week 21st February 2014