Gas will add more to energy bills than renewables
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."
EU Debate: Renewables target challenging but achievable
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."
Autumn Statement: dash for gas will damage growth
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."
Offshore wind could add £20bn to UK economy by 2030
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."
Investment in renewable energy has halved in three years
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.”
Businesses support MPs call for 2030 carbon target
Responding to the report by the Environmental Audit Committee to "restore confidence in energy policy", Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "Ministers need to sit up and pay attention to the long and growing line-up of supporters for a 2030 power sector carbon target. The Environmental Audit Committee has today added its voice to businesses, industry bodies, energy utilities, NGOs and MPs across the country that have repeatedly made the economic case for such a target this autumn."
"If the Autumn Statement is going to kick start growth and jobs, it must provide the certainty on our energy future that businesses have been demanding. The policy grid lock is already damaging low carbon investment and capital allocation."
In a new report into the Autumn Statement, the cross-party Environmental Audit Committee finds that Treasury led ‘dash for gas’ could make the UK’s carbon targets under the Climate Change Act unachievable. The Committee is calling on the Government to restore investor confidence in the future direction of energy policy by setting a clear decarbonisation objective in the forthcoming Energy Bill.
The Committee's report can be downloaded from here.
Regulatory reform could lead to perverse economic outcomes
Responding to the Government announcement that every new regulation that imposes a new financial burden on firms must be offset by reductions in red tape that will save double those costs, Peter Young, Chairman of the Aldersgate Group, has argued that such arbitrary targets can lead to perverse outcomes for business.
He said: "There is no analysis of the quality of regulation or the need for Impact Assessments to better take into account the full externalities on the environment or society. As a result this quest for monetary savings risks losing the purpose of best value regulation to correct market failures and provide fair competition."
Education must be fit for a future economy
A new Aldersgate Group report has urged Government to ensure that education and training is better designed for future needs and not merely to remedy current shortages. The Skills for a New Economy report argues that the economy must be ahead of the game in addressing inevitable worldwide trends, such as increased globalisation and resource scarcity, and not get left behind in the international race to develop high growth sectors in cutting edge technologies.
John Edmonds, the Aldersgate Group lead on skills and former President of the TUC, said: “We need a paradigm shift in our approach to training. In the future, a breadth of understanding across disciplines will be much more valuable than a narrow competence in one activity.
“Every job in Britain will change to some extent and many will change substantially. So we will need training resources of a size to match our aspirations. To keep up with the rapid pace of technological change, our training systems will need to provide the British workforce with a strong basis of theoretical knowledge so people will be able to adapt quickly to new demands."
To read the press release, click here.
Green policies have been a boom for the economy
In response to a letter by 20 Conservative MPs to David Cameron expressing their concern on the green economy, Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said that more needs to be done to trumpet its growth potential.
He told the Guardian, "While the green economy has been a key pillar for growth in the UK's recovery from the global economic crash, policy uncertainty and mixed messages from ministers are undermining this success story. The environmental sector is an area where the UK has strong foundations on which to build and can be one of the building blocks of a genuine export-led recovery in advanced manufacturing and know-how. With competitor economies rapidly building up their capabilities to take advantage of a lucrative global market, it will take strong and consistent UK government leadership to turn its green economy vision into reality."
Business calls for valuing nature correctly
The Ecosystem Markets Task Force, which brings together industry leaders and experts from a wide range of business sectors, has published its Interim Report, detailing its emerging thinking on why nature should matter to business and the potential opportunities for business from valuing nature correctly.
Peter Young, Chairman of the Aldersgate Group and a member of the Task Force, said: "The Task Force is doing ground breaking work underpinned by some excellent research. This Interim Report sheds a light on why our failure to value the natural environment is impoverishing business, the environment and society as a whole.
"I hope that Government will respond to this business-led initiative to give the structures and certainties for new markets to be developed, to build a leadership position for the UK. Making nature an integral part of business thinking is the only way to go."