UK announces biggest energy reforms in 20 years
Publish date: 29 May 2012
Issue Number: 263
Diary: Legalbrief Environmental
The biggest reforms to the UK energy sector in two decades were set out last week, prompting warnings from consumer groups and green campaigners that they would raise bills and penalise renewable energy while boosting nuclear power, says a report in The Guardian.
The sweeping reforms, detailed in the draft Energy Bill, grant the government powers to intervene in the market on a scale not seen since the industry was privatised, according to the report. It notes that under the changes, low-carbon generators including nuclear companies will receive a fixed price for their energy that should be higher than they can sell it for on the open market, and ministers will create a 'capacity market' to ensure a reliable supply of power and prevent blackouts. According to the report, the reforms will mean major changes to the way the market is regulated, and the way utilities and their smaller rivals operate. Ed Davey, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said the reforms would help to bring forward the estimated £110bn in private-sector investment that will be needed for new low-carbon energy capacity, and that they could generate as many as 250 000 new jobs, the report notes.
Full report in The Guardian
Payments for home owners using solar panels to generate electricity are to be cut more, the UK Government said last week, on the hottest day of the year with widespread sunshine in the UK. A report in The Guardian states that the feed-in tariff for solar photovoltaic panels fitted to existing homes will be cut by about a quarter, from 21p per kWh to 16p, and the length of payments reduced from 25 to 20 years. However, notes the report, the Department of Energy and Climate Change said financial returns would still be around 6% for homeowners, down from the 7-10% when the scheme launched in 2010, as panel costs have fallen. Full report in The Guardian
A report on the News24 site notes China's Government plans to spend $27bn this year to promote energy conservation, emission reductions and renewable energy, the Ministry of Finance said last week. The ministry said China plans to promote more use of energy-saving products and low or no-emission power generation such as solar and wind, according to the report. It notes China also wants to accelerate the development of renewable energy, as well as energy-saving technologies, such as electric and hybrid cars. China is the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2), followed by the US. A report by the International Energy Agency last week said China spurred a jump in global CO2 emissions to their highest ever recorded level in 2011, offsetting falls in the US and Europe, the report states. Full report on the News24 site