Tim Yeo: Wrong decisions made on energy policy

The Chair of the Energy Select Committee is pushing for an amendment to the Government’s Energy Bill for a decarbonisation target on power generation. Speaking at an event in London […]

Register now!

By Priyanka Shrestha

The Chair of the Energy Select Committee is pushing for an amendment to the Government’s Energy Bill for a decarbonisation target on power generation.

Speaking at an event in London today, the Conservative MP (pictured) said “wrong decisions” have been made on energy policy in the UK. The news comes after the Government failed to include a decarbonisation target which environmental groups and low carbon investors have lobbied for.

Mr Tim Yeo said that instead of leading the green industrial revolution, Britain “risks being left behind” and delaying to set a target is “killing investment”.

He added: “Both the last UK Government and the present one have been dithering and indecisive on energy and climate change policy. Despite a decade of chatter and promises not a single new nuclear power station has been started. Incentives for low carbon renewable have been chopped and changed, sometimes with little warning… Setting a target for emissions from electricity generation as recommended by the Climate Change Committee has been put off until 2016, prolonging the political and regulatory uncertainty that is killing investment.”

Mr Yeo also attacked Chancellor George Osbrone’s new gas strategy, which has also come under much criticism from some in the industry.

He said: “Lumbering the UK economy with a centralised power system largely reliant on gas would be like running an office using a fax machine in the age of the iPad. Gas does have a significant role to play as we make the transition to a low carbon economy, but it would be rash to bet the future on one fuel or energy source. It is time to upgrade our electricity system to 2.0.”

He added the Chancellor’s dash for gas would be a “gamble” as it is not certain that gas prices are going to decrease. The MP also stressed choosing gas over a decarbonisation target is “short-sighted” and expensive.

Mr Yeo said: “Gambling on gas could be costly. History will not look kindly on those who would have us fossilise our energy system by relying too heavily on gas. I will not stand by and watch the wrong decisions being made on energy policy. This legislation is far too important for Britain’s future to get wrong.

“Today, on the eve of the first parliamentary debate on the Energy Bill, I am announcing that I will be seeking to amend the legislation to include an emissions target — that will clean up the power sector by 2030. This amendment will introduce a target range that requires power plants to produce less than 100 grams of carbon dioxide per kWh of electricity.

“The Energy Bill is an opportunity for us to create a world-leading, clean and advanced electricity system that is fit for the 21st century. But without a target to phase out fossil fuels it may fail.”

He also pointed out his Committee is currently examining what impact shale gas could have on energy markets as it has pushed gas prices down in the US.