Volker Beckers: Energy policies follow political cycles

Changes in energy policies follow political cycles of five years or less, injuring long term investment. That’s according to Volker Beckers, former CEO of npower who also understands the renewable […]

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By Jacqueline Echevarria

Changes in energy policies follow political cycles of five years or less, injuring long term investment.

That’s according to Volker Beckers, former CEO of npower who also understands the renewable sector is “disappointed” with the government’s decision to scrap subsidies for green energy.

Speaking to ELN at the Energy Live 2015 conference, Mr Beckers added: “Sometimes it’s inevitable that some sectors are disappointed and certainly the renewable sector is extremely disappointed. You look at the investments we are making in nuclear – 40, 50 or even 60 years of operations plus 10 years of development. In renewables 20 years and more, on conventional gas plants and coal 20 and 30 years.

“All our decisions are over long term horizon even in low carbon, even in renewables and yet the political decisions follow a completely different cycle which is just a political cycle of five years or less. I have the problem that I can’t adjust my policy when I do make an investment for a 20-year asset. I can’t adjust after two or three years just because the political mood has changed.”

 

Asked about Chinese investment on the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, Mr Beckers said it was “inevitable” that EDF and its Chinese partners work together.

He also explained why npower didn’t invest in nuclear when he was CEO.

Mr Beckers said: “It didn’t make financial sense because we couldn’t spend so much money over a 10 or more year period and that was inevitable that we either needed to find a regime which gives us that sort of financial backing and support mechanism or, what we did, we had to sell it and that was our decision then.

“For EDF and its two Chinese partners I think it’s inevitable that the first of its kind in this new build development programme that they work together. I’m not at all surprised that this was required.”