Energy Secretary cornered on renewables policy

As well as updating members on ADBA's conversation with the Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, this blog urges members to submit written contributions to the relevant House of Commons Committee concerning the impact recent DECC policy has had on investor confidence.


ADBA today joined a Parliamentary lobby event hosted by the Energy Networks Association in Westminster during which the Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP, spoke on the importance of placing energy security and affordability at the heart of UK energy policy.

During a short speech, Amber Rudd explained that:

As new approaches and technologies are proven, we need to consider how they are rolled out across the country so that we maximise the benefits to consumers.

While the Secretary of State focused on the roll out of smart meters and new battery storage devises for the home, however, she did note that:

Gas from the national gas grid will remain important for many decades to come – I’m excited by the possibility of innovation in the gas networks and by the projects that are already ongoing… There are uses other than for heating and electricity, such as fuel for HGVs.

Sadly Amber Rudd declined to accept any questions from the audience but as she turned to leave we were able to corner her in the doorway. I explained the profound impact that recent government policy changes have had on operator and investor confidence, noting that we anticipate further industry growth to fall to negligible levels.

The Minister remarked that there was a need to get costs under control and to ensure that consumer bills remain affordable. She also noted that the Government is expected to directly spend approximately £1.3 billion on low carbon innovation.

The Secretary of State did, however, express concern when I outlined the investment and jobs already lost as a result of the decisions, while reiterating the benefits of baseload energy, and suggested that we write to her on the matter.

Of course we already have but will continue to do so until the message sinks in.

Also speaking at the reception was the newly elected Chair of the House of Commons Energy & Climate Change Committee, Angus MacNeil MP.

Last week I reported how we had contributed to the committee’s list of short and long term priorities as its members assess how to effectively scrutinise government policy and hold ministers to account.

Following the industry engagement exercise last week, Angus MacNeil also announced that the committee’s prioritises will be as follows:

  1. Investor confidence: greater coherence, transparency, consistency and evidence in the policies coming from DECC.
  2. The low carbon network infrastructure, including: evaluating security of supply for the winter (notably the importance of baseload energy and renewable heat sources); and assessing the outcome of the Paris conference talks in January.
  3. Home energy efficiency and demand reduction.

The proactive stance adopted by the body of MPs should certainly be reassuring to industry and we would urge you to submit a written contribution to the committee's inquiry into investor confidence in the UK energy sector. 

ADBA will continue to work closely with the committee and guide their vital scrutiny work. It is of course also vital that we all remain both proactive and constructive in our engagement of MPs and Ministers. We must bear in mind the government’s priorities as summarised today by Amber Rudd:

The objective going forward is to increase energy security, to serve a new low-carbon energy system, to empower consumers and to reduce costs.

  1. Energy security – as an indigenous source for renewable gas, we will reduce UK reliance on imported energy by 15%. Biogas’s baseload nature helps meet peak demand and offers a low-cost renewable option to balance the grid.   
  2. Low-carbon energy – AD helps decarbonise our heat, farming and transport networks, with the overall potential to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions by 4%.
  3. Reduce costs – AD will be cheaper than nuclear by the time nuclear is delivered, providing localised generation without the risks of a single large development.  

For further information on key messages for government and on how you can support our industry-wide drive to lobby as many constituency MPs as possible, please visit ADBA’s lobbying page.

Posted in: ADBA News, Policy updates

Tags: blog, Parliament, DECC, amber rudd, angus macneil, energy security, low-carbon energy, energy & climate change committee, secretary of state, national grid, gas, HGV, energy networks association, Derek Sivyer, inquiry