Prime Minister David Cameron has said at Prime Minister’s Question Time that he is considering rolling back green taxes and reviewing competition in the energy supply market. The announcement follows recent price increase announcements from mains gas and electricity suppliers in Great Britain.
The Prime Minister said, “I want more companies. I want better regulation. I want better deals for consumers. But yes, we also need to roll back the green charges that Labour put in place.”
But Mr. Cameron’s comments drew immediate criticism from his coalition partners. The Lib Dems remain keen to retain green taxes, arguing they are necessary to create a sustainable and green energy supply.
And in addition to coming under attack from his political opponents, the Prime Minister’s comments have also drawn criticism from industry. Dr Nina Skorupska Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association – whose members ultimately have much to lose – says, “David Cameron must clarify which levies he is looking to roll back and how, or risk severely undermining investor confidence at a time when this country desperately needs investment in new low carbon capacity. Renewables are the only low carbon options on the table to bridge the near term capacity crunch, which will bite well before new nuclear or shale gas come on-stream.
“Renewables policy makes up only 3% of average bills overall and only a third of the Government’s ‘green levies’, so politicians and the media are simply wrong to say that green energy is to blame for pushing up bills. It is the ever-increasing cost of gas which has been the main cause of rising bills in recent months and years. With more energy-efficient homes and more home-grown renewables we become less exposed to these volatile gas markets.
“In return for investing in renewables now, we create skilled green jobs in innovative new industries, bringing areas of previous industrial decline back to life. In the long-term we will also get lower, more stable energy prices and preserve a climate which is safe for our families in the future.”
Roger Helmer, UKIP’s Energy Spokesperson has a very different opinion where blame rests. Writing in his blog, Roger says, “I’ve said it so many times, but it seems we have to keep on saying it: it was the politicians who did it, not the energy companies. It was Brussels that set up its climate and energy package with its wholly unrealistic emissions targets. It was our UK government that passed the Climate Change Act (with only a handful of votes against) – which actually went beyond what Brussels had demanded. It was the politicians who created feed-in tariffs and renewable obligations and carbon floor prices. It was the politicians who signed up the EU’s farcical Emissions Trading Scheme. It was politicians who agreed to accept the EU’s Large Combustion Plant Directive, and close down perfectly good coal-fired power stations which were delivering reliable and affordable electricity.
“It was the politicians who decided to squander tens of billions on useless and pointless wind turbines – and billions more adapting the grid, and trailing pylons over unspoiled landscapes to reach remote wind farms. It’s the politicians (of the three old parties) who dithered for decades over new energy investment, and simply threw away Britain’s commanding position in civil nuclear energy, so that today we can only build a new nuclear plant with French technology and Chinese money.”