Wednesday 8 November 2023

Energy industry responds to King’s Speech

Energy industry responds to King’s Speech

In response to the King's Speech, a range of voices from the energy sector and advocacy groups have expressed their views on the proposed measures.

Roger Mortlock, Chief Executive at CPRE, the countryside charity, highlighted the urgency of addressing the climate emergency and called for increased promotion of rooftop solar energy to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and protect natural landscapes.

Mr Mortlock said: "We remain concerned that the rolling out of new electricity infrastructure such as battery storage and pylons could put our finest landscapes at risk.

"We urge the government to rethink these proposals and put communities and landscape considerations at the heart of planning new infrastructure."

Dan McGrail, Chief Executive of RenewableUK, welcomed the government's commitment to attracting investment in renewable energy and emphasised the role of offshore wind in achieving energy security and net zero goals.

Mr McGrail said: "The UK’s energy security and net zero goals can only be met if we have offshore wind as the backbone of our energy system. To make up for the ground lost in this year’s CfD auction, we’re urging Mr Hunt to help the UK to regain its position as the most attractive place to invest in offshore wind, despite fierce competition from the US and the EU.

"We’re calling for a commitment by the Chancellor to work with the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero to set an overall budget, and maximum strike prices, at appropriate and sustainable levels which allow for a return on investment for vital new projects."

Simon Francis, Co-ordinator of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, expressed concerns about the lack of measures to help vulnerable households stay warm during winter and criticised the plan to award more oil and gas licences, advocating for investment in insulation and homegrown renewables.

Jess Ralston, Head of Energy at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, criticised changes to North Sea licensing as political theatre and pointed out that the removal of insulation standards for private renters could leave bill payers worse off.

Rebecca Newsom, Head of Politics at Greenpeace UK, accused the government of prioritising short term political gains over investments in green infrastructure and renewables, expressing disappointment in the King's Speech.

Newsom said: "All of the world’s superpowers are investing heavily in green infrastructure, renewables and the clean tech of the future because they know it will generate economic growth, jobs and ultimately help to stop the planet from burning.

"Instead, our Prime Minister has decided to line up a licencing bonanza for his pals in the oil and gas industry that the government has already admitted won’t lower bills."

Tessa Khan, Executive Director of Uplift, argued against new drilling licences, stating that they primarily benefit oil and gas companies without lowering bills or enhancing energy security.

Ms Khan said: "The fact is the UK has burned most of its gas, and most of what’s left in the North Sea is oil, most of which we export. Rishi Sunak is playing politics with energy policy, while millions of people face another winter of unaffordable energy bills."

Written by

Sumit Bose

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