So its finally here, the end of the three month consultation over the future of the electricity market. The step change the coalition government has wanted to move the UK from a fossil fuel based economy to a low carbon one rests on the EMR.
It’s four pillars, a carbon price floor, a capacity payment, a contract for difference feed in tariff and an emissions performance standard, are supposed to be the right steps to guarantee our power for decades to come and make the UK a world leader in the battle to cut C02 emissions.
But has three months really been long enough to debate such major changes? ELN has learned the process has not been without criticism and its problems. For a start it was launched the week before Xmas and so almost the first three weeks of the consultation period were a waste of time, everyone was on holiday for the festive break. We also heard criticism that the teams at DECC weren’t fully in place until almost the second week of January – a month into the consultation.
Many from the electricity sector say the Government has been rushing this through with big ideas but very little detail. Who will set the carbon price? What level will it be at? Where will the market for this new trade be regulated? The feed in tariff again is called into question, is it appropriate and what levels of payback from the public purse are justified in this economic quagmire to bring in the investment needed? And no one we have interviewed or spoken to in the entire sector believes there is any need for the emissions standard.
When ELN has talked to ministers the message is clear, all will be decided once today’s consulation deadline has passed. But having reported from the energy select committee evidence sessions and heard feedback from you our readers, its clear detail has been very thin on the ground. Many voices have been heard during this consultation but many more have not.
It seems rash to set forward a supposedly concrete set of boundaries that many fear could actually hinder UK economic growth, in such a short period.