Barry Gardiner

Working Hard for Brent North

UK's incoherent energy policy is undermining investor confidence

Barry writes a letter to the Financial Times, describing how the UK Government's incoherent energy policy is undermining investor confidence. This letter was originally published on 4 April

Sir, Your report “Time running out to build fossil fuel power stations” (March 31) could not be more timely. Tackling climate change requires smart infrastructure investment. But to achieve that investment at scale requires a clear and stable regulatory framework that this government has failed to provide.

Last year the UK lost its top 10 listing as one of the best countries for investor confidence in clean energy projects and the independent Committee on Climate Change warned that the government’s “stop-start investment profile” was undermining investor confidence and increasing the cost of low-carbon generation.

By continuing to attack low carbon energy on the grounds of adding costs to bill-payers, the government is undermining its own capacity to deliver its stated objectives and is actually increasing energy costs.

Just last month the energy and climate change select committee reported that the government’s “lack of a long-term vision” has raised the cost of investing in UK energy by £3.14bn a year. The government must wake up: by increasing the risk premium for investors, consumers end up paying more.

The private sector is already way ahead. Recent research has found that private sector spending on high carbon infrastructure is set to more than halve by 2020.

It makes no sense therefore that the government’s updated national infrastructure pipeline is now projecting a staggering 96 per cent fall in renewables investment between 2017 and 2020 when the National Infrastructure Commission is advocating that the UK should save up to £8bn a year by 2030, by embracing a “smart power revolution”. This is incoherence right at the heart of our energy and industrial policy. It must be addressed.

Barry Gardiner MP

Labour, Brent North

Shadow Energy and Climate Change minister; former Environment minister


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