The UK energy regulator is under fire for failing to prioritise the climate emergency as it draws up plans for Britain’s energy system. The CBI is concerned that Ofgem is relying on an outdated policy mandate to regulate the industry and set price controls. It insists that the regulator’s statutory responsibilities must have climate action at its core or risk undermining the UK’s climate targets by scuppering future investment in renewable energy. Under its existing remit, Ofgem is required to keep the government’s climate policies in mind but its primary obligation is to protect the interests of energy consumers. The mandate has not been changed since 2011 after an update drafted within the Energy Act 2013 failed to materialise. The CBI said Ofgem had already sent “negative signals” to investors by failing to prioritise the government’s climate agenda when it sets new rules. The regulator is facing fierce criticism from the industry over proposals to change the way it charges companies to use the national grid, which could deal a blow to renewable energy developers. Aurora Energy, a consultancy, has said Ofgem’s plans threaten to wipe out up to 6GW of new renewable energy investment. The new rules also risk delaying subsidy-free renewable energy projects by five years. Catherine Mitchell, an energy professor at Exeter University, said: “The blame game between the government and Ofgem has created a policy stalemate that the UK cannot afford. “Neither are willing to bite the bullet and call for climate change to sit at the centre of energy regulation. This means economic regulation is simply not keeping up with the energy industry’s potential to help cut emissions.”
Guardian 22nd July 2019 read more »
The former boss of Unilever is seeking a team of “heroic chief executives” to drive a shift to a low-carbon, more inclusive way of doing business. Paul Polman, who stepped down from the Anglo-Dutch owner of Marmite and Dove in November last year after a decade at the helm, warns that the rise of populism and Brexit are symptoms of capitalism’s failure to adapt. Bosses, he insists, must commit to fighting inequality and tackling the climate emergency. “We are about to commit the biggest intergenerational crime in the history of mankind. We need to bring us together not drive us apart,” said the 63-year-old Dutchman, who won plaudits for pushing the benefits of sustainable business long before it became fashionable. “If you don’t address inequality and climate change, to keep it simple, a lot more people are going to be dissatisfied, feel not included or left behind, and making these choices of rejection at the ballot box. The fact we are having these issues of populism and schisms in society is exactly because we are not addressing the underlying issue to evolve capitalism and make sure it works for everybody,” he said.
Guardian 21st July 2019 read more »
An opportunity for Britain’s new prime minister. Energy policy needs rethinking and COP26 is a chance to lead the world on climate change.
FT 22nd July 2019 read more »