Industry observers have reacted to the government’s new energy security bill.
As the lame-duck Johnson administration enters its supposedly final weeks, the bill aims to put overdue flesh on the bones of the disgraced, departing head of government’s Energy Security Strategy and the older Ten Point Plan.
Launched on the day that 59 ministers and MPs resigned from policy briefs, the bill proposes a wide-ranging raft of proposals, covering markets redefinition, curbs on protests against hydrocarbons and nuclear and securing billions in new clean power technologies.
Accelerating deployment of low carbon technologies by securing an unprecedented £100 billion of private investment by 2030, supporting 480,000 clean jobs, heads its objectives
State of the art business models for hydrogen, for carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS), the latter revolutionised by innovative transport and storage, also feature.
Nearly a decade after the 2013 Energy Act, regulator Ofgem faces a major shake-up in with establishment of a Future System Operator (FSO) to oversee electricity and gas markets, with stepped up supplier licencing and improved consumer protection, including extending the retail price cap for home supply.
Innovation proposals mooted include a vision of Britain as the world’s first state to legislate for nuclear fusion.
Scaling up heat pump installation, via market-based mechanisms for the low-carbon heat industry including licenced local heat networks, are also on the bill’s menu.
For the Association of Decentralised Energy, its policy director Caroline Bragg hailed the bill as “a landmark moment for decentralised energy”, placing the sector on an equal footing to other infrastructure.
“Critically, the Government has confirmed heat network zoning will be rolled out across England. This will drive a paradigm shift in modernising the way we heat our towns and cities”, Bragg predicted.
One glaring omission noted by the ADE is the bill’s lack of energy efficiency commitments, protecting households against continually rising energy bills.
From npower Business Solutions, boss Anthony Ainsworth observed:
“This is the biggest reform of energy legislation in years. Clearly any measures to help the UK become more energy independent, less carbon intensive and more resilient in the medium to long term is a good thing.
“However, there is still a huge question mark, “ the supplier’s boss observed.
“What provision is there to help businesses right now? We need to double down on action that can have an immediate impact, such as reducing energy demand through energy efficiency and electrifying heat and transport where possible. Ainsworth noted his firm’s own recent research’s finding that 77% of companies now see energy as their top risk.
Policy support for businesses needs to be a key priority in the next Autumn Budget, said the nPower leader.
Full details of the bill are here.