RenewableUK, the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries, has welcomed the publication of the draft Energy Bill, but warned that the industry still held concerns over the proposed timetable for implementation.
With detailed arrangements in a host of areas still to be determined, and a challenging timetable for consultation, RenewableUK stated it was key that the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) continued to consult and provide reassurance in areas where detail is still missing.
Dr. Gordon Edge, director of Policy at RenewableUK said, “The timeline DECC has laid out looks very challenging to bring in wholesale change to the electricity market. As this is coming at a time when traditional energy sources are coming to the end of their lifespan, DECC needs to ensure that they continue to consult in order that an energy gap does not appear.
“A gap means fewer options for the UK, which means we risk missing carbon reduction targets, continuing our dependence on imported fossil fuels and energy bills not being insulated from the rising costs of fuel. Furthermore, the wind and marine renewables supply chain needs to be sure that there will be sufficient orders if they’re to base operations in the UK, bringing the jobs and cost savings that we and the government are keen to see.”
Edge went on to say, “We’re pleased that DECC has engaged and listened on areas like the power purchase agreements and will be asking for evidence on these, and that they are willing to look at the role a counterparty can play on the contract for difference. We urge them to work with us on the overall timetable so that developers can be given the surety they need to fully commit to proceeding with their next generation of projects, providing the supply chain with the final spur to invest in the UK and create badly needed jobs.”
This was a sentiment that was echoed by Dr Neil Bentley, CBI deputy director general, who said, “While it is reassuring to see some progress on the Energy Bill, it’s now important that parliament not only gets it right, but does so as a matter of urgency. With over a fifth of the UK’s generating capacity coming off stream before 2020, we face a real risk of electricity shortages in the second half of the decade.
“The clock is ticking to create the market certainty that will unlock billions of pounds of private sector investment, generating many new jobs across the UK, and securing an affordable supply of energy.
“We are still some way from having a detailed picture of how the electricity market will look in the future, on which the success of these reforms depends. With major investors waiting in the wings, these details are needed as soon as possible.”