Energy Bill amendment could force CO2 target

8 February 2013
By Edward Gent
Mobile version
Share |
An amendment to the Energy Bill could force the Government to set a target for decarbonisation sooner than it would like

An amendment to the Energy Bill could force the Government to set a target for decarbonisation sooner than it would like

A cross-party amendment to the Government’s Energy Bill has been tabled that would require it to set a target for decarbonisation of the electricity sector by 2014.

The amendment was put forward by the Conservative MP Tim Yeo who chairs the Energy and Climate Change (ECC) Select Committee, and Labour MP Barry Gardiner, the party’s Climate Change Envoy and a member of the ECC Select Committee.

As it stands the Government has said they will set a decarbonisation target for 2030 by 2016, though the commitment is not binding, but if passed the amendment would force them to set a target by April 1 next year.

The amendment would also require the Government to take the advice of the Clmat Change Committee (CCC), the independent body set up to advise the UK Government on setting carbon budgets.

This includes a requirement that the CCC’s advice is made public and that if the Secretary of State for Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change fails to heed the advice, he must explain why.

Mr Gardiner explained that the key driver for the amendment is the need for certainty over energy supply.

He said: “In 2017 to 2018 there is going to be a constriction of energy supply as older stations go off line. We have a European directive taking the older more polluting power stations out of the system and that means there is a chance the lights will go out in that period.

“It is the closest we have come in a long time to having not enough energy to meet our needs so it’s important we get new generating capacity in the system as quickly as possible.”

He said that by delaying the decision on decarbonisation until 2016 the Government was not giving the industry the certainty it needed to plan the building of new stations and therefore increasing the risk that new stations would not be completed by 2017.

He said: “It is a reasonable amendment. It’s an amendment which not only the renewable energy industry supports but many within the fossil fuel industry. They have said we need this target because we need clarity, we need certainty.”

The amendment does not go as far as one submitted by Labour MP Alan Whitehead last month, which demanded the Government limit aggregate electricity emissions across the industry to no more than 50 grams per kWh.

But the requirement to take the advice of the CCC may well result in such a target being set as the organisation has said this is their ideal target, a view echoed in research by the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC).

Mr Gardiner said: “The DECC’s modelling says that 50 g per kWh in operation would be the best for consumers, the best for the fuel poor and the cheapest way of achieving carbon emission reductions.”

The Government is standing by its decision to delay setting the target until 2016, but with Deputy Prime Minister Nick saying recently that he wanted a concrete target on the face of the bill Mr Gardiner is hopeful about the amendment’s chances when it goes to a vote in a few weeks’ time.

“Given that the Deputy Prime Minister is in favour of these targets, we are actually less radical than he is being on this. So I’m hoping he will give the signal to Lib Dem MPs that this is something they should support,” he said.

“I believe a number of Conservative MPs realise this is a moderate, sensible amendment and it’s helping us get over what is potentially a crisis in energy supply in 2017 to 2018.

“I hope a number of them sign up and if that happens it’s certainly possible that the amendment would be carried.”

Friends of the Earth’s head of campaigns Andrew Pendleton hailed the amendment as a “green jobs amendment” that would “put the UK at the heart of the green energy revolution”.

He said: “The Lib Dems are now firmly in the spotlight. Will they honour their recent party conference pledge to support a decarbonisation target, or back George Osborne’s reckless dash for gas?

“The Energy Bill will shape the future of our energy system for a generation – MPs must act decisively to cut carbon, protect us from spiralling fossil fuel costs and create a thriving green economy.”

RenewableUK, which represents the renewable energy industry, also welcomed the amendment.

Director of External Affairs, Jennifer Webber, said: “We welcome the fact that this crucial amendment has been put forward by two senior figures, from both Conservative and Labour sides. Setting a decarbonisation target for 2030 as early as possible is vital if we are to attract long term investment into the UK’s energy sector. This will secure more than 76,000 jobs in the wind industry by 2021, transforming UK manufacturing.

“This far-reaching proposal provides Government with a clear opportunity to send a strong signal that it is committed to the transition to a low-carbon economy beyond 2020 – we would urge all those working on the Energy Bill to ensure that that this opportunity will not be missed”.

But a DECC spokesman said: “We have already proposed that an amendment is made to the Energy Bill to enable us to set a 2030 target for the electricity sector in 2016. This is being laid today.

“It is right to wait until 2016 as this will ensure that the target is set at the same time as the fifth carbon budget, which covers the corresponding period (i.e. 2028-32), and that it fits within the overall framework of the Climate Change Act.

“This means that a target would not be set in isolation but in the context of considering the pathway of the whole economy towards our 2050 target, and making sure we do that in a way that minimises costs both to the economy as a whole and to bill payers.

“The UK Government is fully committed to decarbonising the economy and achieving our long term carbon reduction targets”.

Latest Issue

E&T cover image 1607

"As the dust settles after the referendum result, we consider what happens next. We also look forward to an international summer of sport."

E&T jobs

  • Control System Engineer

    United Utilities
    • Lancaster, Lancashire
    • Up to £33415 + Comprehensive Benefits

    Provide ICA maintenance and engineering support to the Water & Wastewater Production

    • Recruiter: United Utilities

    Apply for this job

  • Signal Processing Engineer

    B&W Group
    • Steyning, West Sussex
    • Competitive Salary

    We are looking for a Signal Processing Engineer to support the R&D process on active loudspeaker products.

    • Recruiter: B&W Group

    Apply for this job

  • Principal Mechanical & Electrical Engineer

    De Montfort University
    • Leicestershire
    • Grade G: £36,672 - £46,414 per annum

    Join the Projects Team to develop and manage medium to large projects on the university estate.

    • Recruiter: De Montfort University

    Apply for this job

  • Advanced Commissioning Engineer

    National Grid
    • Nottinghamshire, Nottingham, England
    • £46000 - £57000 per year

    National Grid is at the heart of energy in the UK. The electricity we provide gets the nation to work, powers schools and lights everyone's way home. Our energy network connects the nation, so it's essential that it's continually evolving, advancing and i

    • Recruiter: National Grid

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Design Engineer

    Oxford Instruments
    • Yatton, Bristol
    • Competitive salary plus excellent benefits

    We are looking for an electrical designer to join our engineering design team.

    • Recruiter: Oxford Instruments

    Apply for this job

  • Skilled Electrical Fitter

    • Bolton
    • Competitive Salary & Benefits

    What?s the opportunity?   The Electrical Fitter will carry out manufacturing and test tasks within the electrical department in accordance with product certification procedures, defined workmanship  ...

    • Recruiter: MBDA

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Manufacturing Technician

    • Stevenage
    • Competitive Salary & Benefits

    What?s the opportunity?   As a qualified craftsman with experience in electrical manufacturing, the Manufacturing Technician will report to a Team Leader, receiving day to day ...

    • Recruiter: MBDA

    Apply for this job

  • Consultant Engineer (Electrical Power)

    BAE Systems
    • Cumbria, Barrow-In-Furness, England
    • Negotiable

    Consultant Engineer (Electrical Power) Would you like to play a key role in providing technical direction to the design of power systems on the Successor class submarines, which will replace the current Trident-equipped Vanguard class, currently in servic

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • Supply Restoration Team Manager (HV/SAP)

    • Oxford, Oxfordshire
    • Salary: £37,588 to £49,645 + Car (SSE8) Depending on skills and experience

    SSE is looking to recruit a Supply Restoration Team Manager to join our existing team in Oxford.

    • Recruiter: SSE

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Technical Lead - Global Operations, Engineering & Laboratory

    Pfizer Ltd
    • Kent

    An exciting opportunity has arisen to join a dynamic team of professional engineers, supporting the development of novel drugs.

    • Recruiter: Pfizer Ltd

    Apply for this job

More jobs ▶


Choose the way you would like to access the latest news and developments in your field.

Subscribe to E&T