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UTILITY Week 25th September 2015

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UTILITY WEEK | 25TH SEPTEMBER - 1ST OCTOBER 2015 | 11 Policy & Regulation The Energy and Climate Change select committee (ECCC) has launched its first inquiry of the new parliament into investor con- fidence in the UK energy sector. The committee confirmed reports by Utility Week that it will assess whether the increased uncertainty around energy policy is undermining investor confidence and what steps can be taken by govern- ment to build and maintain it. ENERGY Select committee confirms inquiry into investor confidence ECCC chair Angus MacNeil said: "Energy projects like offshore windfarms and nuclear power stations can take years from planning to completion, so maintaining investor confidence is crucial if we want to upgrade our energy system. "Energy experts have told us that the government has spooked investors with a series of sudden energy policy changes announced over the summer without proper parliamentary scrutiny. We will be looking at what steps government must take to restore confidence in the UK's energy sector and improve Decc's policymaking processes." Last week, speaking at a House of Commons networking reception organised by Utility Week in association with the Energy Networks Association, MacNeil slammed the govern- ment for damaging investor This week Labour MPs defend Nandy's appointment Party's energy veterans say she is bright and will be an effective critic of government energy policy The Labour Party's energy veter- ans have defended the appoint- ment of Lisa Nandy to the posi- tion of shadow energy secretary despite her lack of experience in the energy sector, saying she was carefully chosen for the role. Labour MP and former energy and climate change select com- mittee (ECCC) member Barry Gardiner told Utility Week that Nandy's "sharp political mind" would allow her to master the brief to stand as an effective critic of the government's energy policy. "Lisa has been carefully chosen for this role and is someone who will understand the need to maintain baseload to keep the lights on in the UK while transi- tioning to a low-carbon economy," Gardiner said. Former shadow energy minister Tom Greatrex said Nandy had proved to be a "bright, formidable and popu- lar" MP since she was first elected in 2010. "She will pick up where Caroline Flint le off in hold- ing the government to account and begin the process of developing policy ahead of the next general election. With her strong personal commitment to social justice, I would expect to see her focusing on fuel poverty and energy efficiency, as well as keeping climate change high up the political agenda," Greatrex said. Nandy tweeted that she considers her new position to be a "huge privilege". She will be supported by a larger than usual shadow energy team, including Gardiner and current ECCC member Alan Whitehead. The experienced duo are joined by new Norwich South MP Clive Lewis. Baroness Worthington keeps her role in the shadow Decc team, and is joined by Lord Grantchester, who will be split between shadow Decc and Defra. Defras' shadow water minister is Alex Cunningham. JA ENERGY Community projects 'difficult to deploy' Community energy projects could be more difficult to develop as a result of the govern- ment's changes to the feed-in tariff (FIT), the energy secretary has admitted. During Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) ques- tions in the House of Commons last Thursday, Amber Rudd said the removal of pre-accreditation "could make it more difficult for community energy projects to deploy". But Rudd defended the move, saying FIT pre-accreditation "had to be removed as a matter of urgency in order to safeguard spends under the scheme". However, she offered commu- nity projects hope of a potential lifeline when she added: "As part of the review we are seeking views as to whether the scheme should be focused towards specific groups or sectors which might, for example, include households or communities." The admission follows warn- ings from the Scottish and Welsh governments in August that a lack of clarity on support for renewable energy would cause community projects to stall. The government is to axe pre-accreditation for projects applying for support through the FIT scheme, effectively block- ing developers from securing an agreed subsidy rate before costly permitting applications and construction begin. It is the latest move in a series of measures scaling back subsidies to renewable technologies as the government aims to regain control of its spending, which overshot the £7.6 billion Levy Control Framework budget by £1.5 billion. ELECTRICITY Government green light for EDF CCGT EDF Energy last week received the government's stamp of approval for its plans to develop a 1.8GW gas-fired power plant in Lincolnshire. The company is yet to make a final investment decision (FID), but if the project does move for- ward it could begin generating power within three years. The investment would contribute to the UK's meagre supply margins with relatively low-carbon power capacity capable of adjusting output to complement the variability of wind generation output. Energy minister Lord Bourne said: "Continued investment in this vital industry – such as this new power plant – creates jobs but also helps keep the lights on as we move towards a cleaner energy future." The combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) would be built on land next to the existing Sutton Bridge power plant. EDF Energy said its FID will depend on the progress of other aspects of the project as well as "market and regulatory developments". Nandy: has a 'sharp political mind' certainty. He said: "Investors still wonder what the next step is. It's a real surprise that the Tory government is risking private investment like this." The ECCC also announced it will conduct inquiries into home energy efficiency and demand reduction, and low-carbon network infrastructure. It will also look into concerns about capacity margins for gas and electricity this winter.

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