Next government must embrace ‘monumental changes’ in the UK’s energy sector, Energy UK says

Energy UK has said the country’s next government must embrace the “changing” energy market and extend support for low carbon generation.  

The association last week launched its 2017 manifesto, timed to coincide with campaigning ahead of June’s snap general election, which outlines a series of asks from the country’s political leaders.

These asks fall under five key areas, including assurances over the UK’s continued commitment to decarbonisation, establishing energy efficiency as a national priority and ensuring that the government’s industrial strategy is built upon a low carbon economy.

Lawrence Slade, chief executive at Energy UK, said: “We are witnessing monumental changes right across the sector, as we transition to a digital, decarbonised energy future that better meets consumer’s needs.  We are today setting out the key principles the next Government should adopt to ensure we do this in a secure and sustainable way and delivered at the lowest cost to consumers.“

In the manifesto foreword Slade said that it was vital that continued investment in infrastructure drove innovation and productivity.

“We must have long-term policy stability from whoever forms the next government in order to continue to attract internationally mobile investment funds,” Slade wrote.

The trade body also noted that the UK requires circa £180 billion of investment in generation and networks by 2030.

Crucial to this, Energy UK says, is ensuring all low carbon technologies – but specifically the lowest cost options – benefit from a route to market.

The manifesto laments the withdrawal of routes to market for low cost renewables such as solar and onshore wind. Since the closure of the Renewables Obligation and exclusion from future Contracts for Difference auctions, both technologies have effectively had their deployment prohibited under the current regime.

Energy UK says this must change, with the development of a delivery plan for investment in low carbon electricity generation post 2020 – after current Levy Control Framework commitments expire – considered a priority.

Opening up CfDs to all technologies while also maintaining the capacity market mechanism would provide security of supply and decarbonisation at the least cost, Energy UK says, by providing a steady pipeline of energy generation projects that remain competitive.