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07 Sep 2016 01:09:32

UK government must reverse 'restrictive' energy policies, says ECC Committee chair



Energy policy decisions made by the UK government last year must be reversed to let businesses benefit from a generation of cost-effective, low-carbon energy technologies, says Energy & Climate Change (ECC) Committee chairman Angus MacNeil. Speaking to edie, Mr MacNeil said he wants a more holistic approach to energy investment providing more stable support for onshore wind and solar, which retain strong industry backing.

“The UK is screaming out for renewables investment and screaming out for the government to stop viewing itself as a company but actually to govern,” said Mr MacNeil. “They have to look again at what they’ve done with onshore wind and solar.

"I think they have to be governed by the cheapest form of renewables, but they also have to recognise that people want to develop in these areas. I think the problem with the 2015 approach was that it created too many barriers to investment for business. I think they should go back to enabling the generation of renewable energy where there are resources and where it’s cheap to do so, not to restrict it or pick the winners so much. When we’re talking onshore wind, offshore wind, solar and gas, they need to be less restrictive in their approach and look to reverse what they did in 2015.

“A decision to allow Hinkley to go ahead would be short-sighted when we have experts saying that nuclear might become obsolete when renewables, storage and perhaps gas combine in the 2030s.”

Mr MacNeil is calling on the new Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to streamline guidelines and reduce uncertainty in the energy sector. He suggested removal of energy storage regulations to unlock the potential of smart technologies, currently undermined by uncertainties over revenue streams and grid services contracts. Hel added: “There’s a bureaucratic issue that needs to be handled … The only problem is inertia. We are still waiting for the framework of plans supposed to be put together by the end of this year to move forward some prospective policies.”

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