MPs criticise government clean energy policies

Heavy criticism has been levelled at UK government energy policies by two separate parliamentary committees. The Environmental Audit Committee, comprising 16 cross party MPs and chaired by Mary Creagh,  says "ill-thought out policies caused a dive in clean energy investment which fell 56% last year” and the independent Public Accounts Committee says a government scheme to encourage clean heat is a failure that often produces dirty heat.

Whilst the government claims that it is determined to meet its climate change targets, investment is now the lowest it has been since 2008 resulting in:

  • A ban on new onshore wind farms;
  • Withdrawing subsidies from solar;
  • Taxing Renewables;
  • Selling the Green Investment Bank;
  • Dumping the Zero Carbon Homes policy.

The Climate Change Committee did welcome two pieces of good news, in that a fall in the cost of renewable energy technology means that the value of each pound invested is worth more, and that the proportion of UK electricity generated from low-carbon sources, including nuclear, has doubled between 2009 and 2017, to reach a record 50% last year.

The MPs say they are encouraged by the government's long-term green growth strategy but warn that policies are not strong enough to meet legal climate change targets.

BEIS responded by confirming its commitment to  meeting our climate change targets and will have invested £2.5 billion on low carbon innovations by 2021.

Elmhurst Energy’s Martyn Reed agrees that the reduction in government spend on renewables, which has decimated many parts of the supply chain, is regrettable and will take many years  to recover. Going forward policy should be totally clear as to its intended outcome. The uncomfortable truth is that whilst energy polices can:

  1. Minimise  climate change
  2. Reduce fuel poverty
  3. Improve air quality
  4. Improve fuel security

It is almost impossible to improve on all four counts simultaneously.

Polices need to consider the unintended consequences and then, when agreed, set measures for success. So often terms like ‘climate change’ and ‘fuel poverty’ get used interchangeably, when in fact they are very different and often mutually exclusive.

More available on the BBC website

For more information on the Climate Change Committee click here 

Article Published: 21st June 2018

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