The government could unveil sweeping new plans to mobilise investment in new nuclear, carbon capture and storage (CCS), and energy efficiency projects within days, in what would represent a major boost for the green economy. However, reports over the weekend suggested the Treasury is reluctant to sign off on the plans, which are contained in a long-awaited Energy White Paper, amidst concerns the changes could impose significant costs on the in-coming Prime Minister. Both the Guardian and the Times reported yesterday that the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is poised to publish a consultation on a new financing model for future nuclear power plants, which ministers maintain could curb costs for consumers and enable a new generation of nuclear plants that would support the UK’s decarbonisation efforts. Critics were quick to label the proposals as a further subsidy for an expensive source of power, which would leave taxpayers liable for rising project costs or delays. The new financing approach, known as a regulated asset base (RAB), mirrors the model used to finance the £4.2bn Thames Tideway tunnel. It allows developers to charge customers upfront for projects before they are completed and could see the government agree to cover a proportion of cost overruns. The plans also hand developers a regulated return at each new phase of a project. Supporters of the model argue it can drastically reduce borrowing costs, curb project risks, ensure critical infrastructure is developers, and reduce overall costs for billpayers. But critics of RAB projects have warned they could leave taxpayers on the hook for significant cost overruns and require the government to step in financing for a project dries up. The consultation was expected to be published alongside a wide-ranging Energy White Paper, featuring similar proposals for mobilising investment in new CCS projects and revive stalled spending on domestic energy efficiency measures. However, Bloomberg reported over the weekend that Chancellor Philip Hammond is blocking the plans, citing the spending implications that would be imposed on the new Prime Minister.
Business Green 15th July 2019 read more »
Environment Secretary Michael Gove has promised urgent action to tackle climate change as he warned that “time is running out” to save the world from the ravages of global warming. Mr Gove will outline the details of the forthcoming Environment Act today, which he claims is just as ambitious as the Climate Change Act 2008. This saw the UK became the first nation in the world to set legally binding, long-term targets to lower greenhouse gas emissions – prompting other countries to set similar goals. “Nature is in retreat just as global warming accelerates. The scale of action required may be daunting, but the need to act is imperative,” Mr Gove will tell an audience at Kew Gardens today, as he unveils details of the new Act.
The i News 16th July 2019 read more »
The government must come up with a blueprint for dealing with the challenges that automation and the move to a low-carbon economy pose for UK industry, says a report by the TUC. The UK has an “appalling” track record on managing industrial change that benefits workers, customers, businesses and communities. But the sweeping changes that are likely over the next few decades must be treated as an opportunity to improve lives and “deliver better jobs”, according to the authors. Union leaders at the TUC said without strong guidelines and action at a local level, communities in industrial cities and towns could suffer. The report, based on research conducted by the New Economics Foundation thinktank, said the UK may be able to learn lessons from three places that had transformed themselves after going through difficult times: Bilbao in northern Spain, Eindhoven in Holland, and Iceland.
Guardian 15th July 2019 read more »