DECC’s five-year plan ‘offers nothing to businesses’

The UK Government needs to develop and present a coherent and  “ambitious” plan for energy generation and supply in the UK for the decades ahead. That’s the view of Andrew […]

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By ELN reporter

The UK Government needs to develop and present a coherent and  “ambitious” plan for energy generation and supply in the UK for the decades ahead.

That’s the view of Andrew Fletcher, Managing Director of Carbon Control, who believes DECC’s five-year plan, which was unveiled last week, “offers nothing to businesses”.

He said the “most fundamental and worrying issue” is that the UK lacks a credible energy policy; as a result companies still don’t have the confidence to invest in energy reduction, renewable energy generation and storage projects in the country.

Mr Fletcher added: “There are no hooks or drivers in this plan that would give any business the confidence to be investing for the long term in anything to do with energy.

“They are putting out what they claim to be an ambitious plan, when in reality it lacks substance and what it does contain is nothing new.”

DECC said its plan from 2015 to 2020 sets out a vision for “secure, affordable and clean energy supplies”.

However Mr Fletcher believes it lacks ambition for a number of reasons: “If we look at the key strands of the plans, it talks about keeping costs down, yet in reality the areas of focus in the plan are likely to do the opposite. They continue to give more power to the energy generators and suppliers and ultimately that will feed through into greater cost for consumers and businesses.

“It talks of delivering an energy infrastructure fit for the 21st century yet the principles are of the 20th century at best.”

He told ELN there’s a “fundamental lack of focus on integrating renewable generation and storage in terms of new ambitions” against a backdrop of the rest of the world striving to transform their energy generation and supply.

The government said its long term plan for “predictable and clean electricity” includes a “significant expansion” of new nuclear.

However Mr Fletcher believes that while the low carbon source has a role to play, it is being presented as the “genie in the bottle, providing the magic solution to all of the UK’s problems” rather than being a part of the overall energy mix.

He suggests three things that needs to be done: “Firstly, it would be for government to develop and present a coherent vision and strategy for energy in the UK for the next 20 to 50 years. Secondly, for the business energy tax review outcome to take the form of a significantly simplified mechanism for business-related energy taxes to be really underpinned by the principles of polluter pays.

“The third element would be to really support businesses, ideally through creating an environment to attract both talent and the substantial investment required to develop new approaches to energy efficiency, generation and distribution for the UK and in parallel to incentivise businesses to implement these opportunities.”

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