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Businesses call for clear energy policies and leadership

Businesses call for clear energy policies and leadership

Businesses call for clear energy policies and leadership

The government must show clear leadership and develop stable policies in order to secure Britain's power supply and keep costs down for all energy users.

That's according to some of the biggest businesses operating in the UK - including energy users, investors and suppliers - who co-signed an open letter to the government first reported in the Times.

ScottishPower's chief corporate officer Keith Anderson, Tim Hinton of Lloyds Banking Group and Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, were among the signatories to the letter, which called for "action on energy in 2016".

It stated that the way we power our economy is being "transformed", with more energy coming from renewable and low-carbon sources and new technologies enabling changes in how power is stored and used.

The letter claimed that businesses have been central to this trend, increasing the use of renewable methods within the electricity supply from 11 per cent to 25 per cent in three years.

Companies have also taken steps to increase their energy efficiency and to help consumers limit their demand for energy and manage their electricity costs.

The signatories to the open letter stressed that, in order to continue this transition while keeping costs down and maintaining the security of the energy supply, commercial and household bill-payers need investment, strong leadership and consistent policies.

"To unlock investment, we need a clear long-term framework - so companies can plan for construction projects that will last into the next decade," the letter said.

"To ensure we are delivering new low-carbon capacity at an affordable cost for consumers, we need to make sure the market is open to all technologies, including new onshore wind developments, where they have local support."

Furthermore, complex regulations need to be revised to remove any barriers to investment in energy efficiency, according to the companies and business bodies that signed the letter.

Solar, wind and storage technologies 'can solve energy crisis'

Responding to the publication, the Renewable Energy Association (REA) said the most cost-effective renewables have the potential to solve the "energy crisis" and should be given a level playing field to compete with other sources.

One sustainable option is solar power, the cost of which has fallen "tremendously" in the past five years, to the point that it is competitive with new nuclear and gas infrastructure, according to the REA.

Another advantage is that large solar installations can be completed in six weeks, compared to the anticipated nine years required for the development of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

A recent report from the REA and professional services firm KPMG also highlighted the declining cost of energy storage technologies, which are expected to be economically viable for domestic use with solar power systems by 2017.

James Court, head of policy and external affairs at the REA, warned that, without clear government action, the UK could find itself in a situation where nuclear power, gas and diesel are being subsidised and the most cost-effective renewables are being shunned.

Technologies are here now that can supply this country's power needs in a low-carbon, low-cost way and can be rapidly deployed, including solar PV, wind and energy storage," he added.

"We're advocating for a level playing field. A recent REA/KPMG report outlined that a more decentralised energy system will lower costs to consumers and increase our energy security."

 

Posted by Julie Tucker

Image courtesy of Thinkstock