Forthcoming carbon reduction plan will deliver longer-term certainty, Clark insists

Business and energy secretary Greg Clark has insisted that the forthcoming carbon reduction plan will deliver the long-term certainty the renewables industry is calling for.

Clark was speaking before the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee yesterday afternoon alongside permanent secretary Jeremy Pocklington and discussed the work of the newly-formed department, both to date and in the future.

In a sprawling discussion that touched on a wide variety of his department’s areas of work, independent MP Michelle Thomson broached the topic of renewable energy and the “considerable uncertainty” the industry has been left with by both a burgeoning gap in policy support and the unsure outcomes of the Brexit referendum.

In particular Thomson mentioned the Contracts for Difference scheme – the last remaining subsidy support framework for large-scale renewable generators – and the Levy Control Framework, which has only been set out until 2020/21.  

Clark however pointed towards the forthcoming carbon reductions plan – initially scheduled to be published by the end of this year but now pushed back into early 2017 – and insisted that details within it would deliver the long-term support the industry requires. 

“It is important to set out long-term approaches, and I think in the five months since this government has taken office, on renewable energy we have a pretty good record,” he said.

Clark went on to mention several acts that BEIS has taken since being formed, most notably the acceptance of the fifth carbon budget, the ratification of the Paris Agreement and confirmation of three new CfD rounds, albeit rounds limited to less-established technologies.

“There’s no one in the [renewables] industry that doubts our commitment to it,” Clark added. 

Clark’s comments expanded upon an earlier speech made by former energy minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe at Policy Exchange’s Decarbonising Heat event, and climate change minister Nick Hurd’s insistence in BEIS orals this week that the plan is to be published “in the new year”.