Household energy bills will be about £600 higher per year in the coming decades if the UK relies increasingly on gas, according to the Committee on Climate Change.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, told the Guardian: "The implication of the committee's report is absolutely clear: investment in a portfolio of low carbon technologies provides a vital hedge against the prospect of high gas prices in the future. By contrast, the option for a large-scale shift towards unabated gas-generation in the government's recent gas strategy poses a massive risk to the UK's future growth.
Businesses have repeatedly warned about the economic cost of locking the UK into high imported fossil fuel dependency: rising and volatile energy prices, serious concerns about security of supply, and a missed opportunity to build up UK supply chains."
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director from the Aldersgate Group, told Parliament Magazine's Brussels Briefing Live conference that the UK's 2020 renewable energy target is challenging but achievable.
He said: "analysis by the AEA consultancy and the Government's independent advisors demonstrate that the UK's target of generating 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 is achievable. However, there is little room for complacency. Policy uncertainty and mixed messages from Government means that the UK is not keeping up with faster growing international markets in the race for global investment."
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, told the Guardian: “If the Chancellor’s Autumn statement is intended to heal the UK economy, the gas strategy is a route that will lead us straight back to economic decline". David Kennedy, the Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change, stated that the scenario for building 40 new gas plants was "completely incompatible" with climate change targets.
According to Mr Raingold, such a strategy “undermines investment and jobs, and will raise the capital cost of renewing our energy infrastructure: a cost that will be passed straight onto the bills of businesses and consumers. Businesses have repeatedly warned the Chancellor about the economic cost of locking the UK into high imported fossil fuel dependency: rising and volatile energy prices, serious concerns about security of supply, and a missed opportunity to build up UK supply chains. Already households are paying £70 per year directly to Qatar for imported gas – money we could be keeping in the UK economy by investing in renewables on our soil."
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, told Newsnight Scotland that a new report by Cambridge Econometrics finds that investing in offshore wind through the 2020s would benefit the economy by adding £20bn to GDP by 2030, boosting total UK jobs by 70,000 and reducing the gas import bill by £8bn (45%).
Commenting on the publication of the report, he said: "The economic value of investment in offshore wind will be hugely increased if a world leading supply chain develops in the UK. It is a matter of urgency that the Government’s industrial strategy prioritises the development of wind power manufacturing capacity."
The Independent has reported that "alarming" new research shows that investment in essential industrial-scale wind, water, solar, biomass and nuclear power projects has more than halved in the past three years, in the face of government indecision over its green energy policy.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, told the paper that: “Delaying key decisions such as the decarbonisation target for 2030 risks damaging the UK’s future economic prospects and leaving the consumers over-exposed to the price and energy security risks of heavy dependence on imported gas.”