Could Treasury push for a rollback of UK green policies post-Brexit? That is the question sparked by Treasury Minister Liz Truss insistence this weekend that government ministers must be prepared to “junk… white elephant projects”, including low-carbon initiatives, and focus government infrastructure spending on schemes that offer the most “bang for buck” for the UK economy. She also hinted strongly that green schemes could be impacted by the review. “We must use best-practice around the world to improve the way we regulate important goods and services or deal with market failures,” Truss wrote. “Could we increase competition and reduce prices in energy by simplifying our approach to lowering carbon emissions?” Industry insiders will be hoping the reference to increased competition and reduced prices could refer to a review of whether to allow onshore wind and solar farms – widely thought to be the cheapest form of new generating capacity available currently – should be allowed to compete for new government clean energy contracts. Trade bodies have been arguing for months that allowing such projects to compete would help curb emissions and reduce costs for households and businesses. However, the focus on simplification of the clean energy policy environment could also refer to Professor Dieter Helm’s recent review of the Cost of Energy, which called for a streamlining of decarbonisation policies centred on clearer carbon pricing signals, but which garnered a mixed response from industry groups and the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
Business Green 7th Jan 2019 read more »