Coalition drags its feet on renewables

Interesting take by Kari Lundgren on the government’s plan to boost levels of renewable energy production:

The U.K. will propose the biggest changes to energy policy in two decades tomorrow when the coalition government lays out plans to ensure aging power plants are replaced and climate targets met.

David Cameron’s government is likely to reassert state control over the market-based system introduced by his predecessor Margaret Thatcher when proposals are made to parliament. The regulator has suggested a “carbon floor” price to force up the cost of emitting greenhouse gases, encouraging investment in nuclear reactors and offshore wind farms.

Lundgren clearly thinks the plans afoot are radical. I’m not so sure. Read the article in full, here.

Catherine Mitchell is, unsurprisingly, far more sceptical:

Sadly, the proposed electricity market reforms and the green deal do not include anything that will move the UK forward in anything other than an incremental manner. At the heart of the problem is a seasonally appropriate difficulty: asking turkeys to vote for Christmas.

It is simply not in the interests of the handful of dominant energy companies and their shareholders to dramatically transform the energy system, whether on the supply or demand side. In particular, an increase in the energy efficiency of buildings will undermine a company’s future sales and profits. Only when the government confronts head-on the interests in maintaining the system largely as it is, will the energy system change.

Energy companies sell energy or services and have to comply with various rules and incentives. The rules and incentives are being tweaked so that energy companies can make more money from low-carbon energy supply and reducing energy demand. But reducing the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2030 means developing a completely different energy system. Energy companies doing what they can within the current energy system is not nearly enough.

The FT also has the story.

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