The government using the fear of Brexit to threaten it could cause damage to the energy market in the UK is a “false claim”.
That’s according to Andrew Fletcher, Managing Director of Carbon Control, who believes it is “just blatant political scaremongering”.
He added Energy Secretary Amber Rudd claiming the UK leaving the EU could result in energy bills rocketing by £500 million a year is “disrespectful to both energy suppliers and electorate”.
Mr Fletcher told ELN: “Amber Rudd, who is clearly a keen supporter of remaining in the UK, is cynically scaremongering on energy when in fact the problems we face around energy are the problems caused under her and her predecessor’s watch.”
He believes the UK has a fundamental problem which is the absence of a clear and consistent energy policy, creating an environment “where external investors have and continue to be reticent as to whether they dare invest in the UK”.
While the UK remaining part of the EU could provide an “easier environment” for external businesses to invest in the industry, he added: “You can equally put a counter argument that by removing lots of the restrictions imposed by the EU that currently limit and affect the renewable energy industry for example, it could make us a more attractive environment to invest in.
“It removes the bureaucracy and policy of the EU framework and equally it imposes the burden of responsibility on the government, if we were to come out of the EU, to actually have to move forward with implementing and developing its own energy policy. It removes the get-out-of-jail card blaming it on the EU.”
Mr Fletcher said while a lot of people would argue being part of the EU provides us with the security of working within an overall European partnership, he believes it has also “continuously allowed government to be derelict in terms of some of its duties towards the UK”.
He said: “A current example of that is the situation of Tata Steel’s decision to sell its UK business. Energy has been cited as a reason for that decision. Our other partners in Europe don’t suffer this same problem.”
He believes the government “truly doesn’t have a strategy” in terms of energy or even industrial policy and as a consequence “keeps stumbling from one crisis to another”.
He added businesses need absolute clarity on the government’s future long term energy strategy on how the UK is going to derive its energy.
Mr Fletcher said they want confidence to plan for energy costs for 10, 20 or even 30-year horizons when making investments in infrastructure and a stable environment for external investors “who are crucial to delivering new energy infrastructure”.
He also believes a “clear position” is needed with regards to renewables as the current landscape favouring “extremely expensive nuclear and unproven fracking in the UK makes it extremely difficult to justify the commercial viability of new renewable energy schemes”.
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