Concerns and opportunities raised as DECC is merged with BIS to form the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
The flurry of recent changes in our Government and departure from the EU has naturally left those in the energy industry feeling uncertain about what our future policies will look like.
Following Teresa May’s appointment as Prime Minister, the former Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has now been scrapped and merged with the Business and Industrial Strategy (BIS) to form the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Greg Clark has been appointed as Secretary of State for the BEIS.
Many are concerned that the merge represents a step backwards in terms of the Government’s commitments to addressing climate change but others see a potential opportunity for a more holistic approach towards tackling climate change and encouraging sustainable growth.
In 2008, Greg Clark approved the Labour Government’s Climate Change Act saying “the choice between aggressive and ambitious action on carbon reduction and a successful, powerful economy is, in fact, not a choice at all – they are one and the same.”
The announcement of Brexit, however, has prompted numerous organisations throughout the renewable energy industry to remind the Government of its commitment to several European Directives that address our carbon footprint.
Solar Power Portal reported today that a coalition of 30 trade bodies, NGOs, pressure groups and think tanks have signed an open letter to the Greg Clark, Secretary of State to the Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, which urges him to confirm commitment to the UK 2020 climate change targets.
The EU Renewable Energy Directive currently ties the UK to a target for 15% of its energy to come from renewable energy sources by 2020. This includes 10% renewables in transport, 30% in electricity and 12% in heat.
A report from National Grid earlier this month warned that the UK is set to miss this 2020 target and that only 12% renewable energy will be achieved by 2020. They anticipate that under a ‘No Progression’ scenario, the 15% target will not be reached until 2029.
The letter also addresses the UK’s acceptance for another EU scheme Nearly Zero Energy Building, which requires new builds after 2020 to meet EU energy performance standards and incorporate renewable energy supplies.
Last month, the UK delivered 23.9% of electricity demand from solar energy alone, reaching 61.7GWh on Monday 6th June. The UK now has almost 12GW of installed capacity after a rush of installations totalling 1.553GW were completed earlier this year in time for the end of March Feed in Tariff digression. Residential deployment of solar has stalled since the subsidies were cut but the industry is hopeful that the introduction of affordable battery storage and continuing falling costs of solar will encourage future investment.
In the meantime, we eagerly await the response from Greg Clark on the future of EU-based climate targets and whether there will be any changes to the current policy.