Energy lobby comes out in favour of renewables

10th March 2016

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  • Generation ,
  • Conventional ,
  • Fossil fuels ,
  • Nuclear


Chris McGhee

A u-turn by the UK's biggest energy lobby group could have far-reaching significance for energy policy, according to experts.

Energy UK has typically been seen as the voice of the ‘big six’ energy suppliers. But, in what one expert described as a ‘flip to the other side’, it has called for a stronger focus on energy efficiency and a greater roll-out of renewables. The change in heart, signalled in a report that sets out its vision for the enrgy sector, has coincided with a change in complexion of the body, with new suppliers and generators now making up nearly half its membership.

Catherine Mitchell, professor of energy policy at the University of Exeter, said: ‘This report reads almost as if Energy UK has flipped to the other side. I take this to mean that its members realise that their future is in new energy systems rather than the old.’

Dale Vince, founder of renewable energy firm Ecotricity, said: ‘This is a major shift in position and may represent the falling of one of the last barriers to real progress on the green energy front.’ The announcement underscores the point that fossil fuels are yesterday’s energy source, Vince added.

Nick Mabey, chief executive at energy consultancy E3G, said: ‘There are a lot more players [in the energy market] now. We are seeing a fundamental shift from the old energy business model because it’s not fit for the future.’

Lawrence Slade, who became Energy UK chief executive last year, said government cuts to renewable energy subsidies had undermined investor confidence.

His comments came as the appeal of the UK to renewable energy investors fell. EY’s latest renewable attractiveness index ranked the UK alongside Saudi Arabia and Poland, and the consultancy warned that a weak 2015 made 2016 a make-or-break year.

Meanwhile, Decc has said it will review tidal lagoon energy to determine whether the technology offers good value.


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