Peter Young, Chairman of the Aldersgate Group, has written to the Prime Minister setting out business’ concern of the recent politicisation of UK energy policy. He says that mixed messages from Government are creating “risk, ambiguity and mistrust”.
Peter Young warned that: “The Government is scoring a spectacular own goal as the jumbled energy policy debate increases today the very costs that Government is seeking to reduce, and increases the costs for business tomorrow by not delivering an efficient, less fossil-reliant energy supply. The very real danger is that we shoot ourselves in the foot and fail to deliver an affordable, secure and low carbon energy mix.”
For further information, see Roger Harrabin analysis on the BBC website, citing the letter and, "warning that in their attempt to drive bills down, politicians may be forcing bills up." Also see coverage in The Mirror.
In an interview for leading carpet manufacturer Interface, Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said that we need a political and economic agenda that puts the long-term interests of citizens at its heart. This must be built on "a new mindset" that encapsulates how we can prosper in a very different world; "a heroic nation in a struggle for future prosperity".
The Aldersgate Group have written to both David Cameron and José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, to urge the EU to propose an ambitious set of concrete initiatives on green growth at the EU-China Summit.
In collaboration with E3G and EU CLG, the joint letters state that the Summit represents a critical opportunity to align European and Chinese interests on the green economy, and formulate a new approach to the EU-China relationship which maximises mutual opportunities and better manages trade tensions.
Further integration of European and Chinese markets would deliver immediate and large business opportunities for European firms. China will spend $8 trillion on urbanisation and over $1 trillion on power systems to 2020. The majority of this investment will need to be clean, efficient and low carbon. The letter sets out four priorities to help create a "Green Growth Area" between the EU and China.
Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, has warmly welcomed a letter sent by the Aldersgate Group, calling for a meaningful decarbonisation target to be included in the Energy Bill in 2014. His letter states: "I am genuinely grateful for your letter and was impressed by the significant investor numbers and names who are clearly supportive of an ambitious approach to tackling climate change."
Whilst recognising "that we need to decarbonise our power sector significantly", Mr Davey insisted that "the Government is taking powers in the Energy Bill to set a target range for electricity sector decarbonisation for 2030." The Aldersgate Group has criticised the Government's approach to the decarbonisation target which is unduly weak, and coordinated a letter with UK SIF arguing that the Energy Bill must create the obligation to include a decarbonisation target in 2014, to be implemented by 2030. The letter was signed by investors with over £1 trillion assets under management worldwide and sent to the Chancellor in September 2013.
Today the House of Lords missed an historic opportunity to be consistent with the Government’s commitment to being "the greenest government ever" and put growth at the top of the agenda. In a vote on whether to include a firm and foreseeable commitment to decarbonise the power sector by 2030, the peers voted against, leaving business and investors without the clear and cost effective path towards a decarbonised economy, that they have been demanding from the Government.
Peter Young, Chairman of the Aldersgate Group said: "This is a major missed opportunity, not just for UK green businesses which gave us a trade surplus of £5 billion last year, but to global businesses and investors poised to create jobs and contribute to growth here in the UK. The conflict between the Government's green pretensions and its increasing determination to procrastinate whilst relying on high carbon, polluting technologies will send global investors elsewhere and slow sorely needed business growth in the UK. The uncertainty that this Government has caused is already delaying desperately urgent UK investment. Meanwhile, our global competitors are developing tomorrow’s solutions with capital which could have been deployed in the UK to the benefit of our economy, both now and in the long term, when delayed modernisation of our power mix will be more expensive."
The Aldersgate Group has added its support to a letter sent to the Prime Minister, calling on him not to scale back the green levies included in energy bills. The letter argues that the "only sure way" to protect households against rising bills in the long term is through energy efficiency. This is supported by measures such as the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) which targets vulnerable and low income households and "hard to treat" properties. Cancelling this measure would increase the energy bill for these consumers, who are least able to afford it.
To read the full letter, click here.
The Aldersgate Group has signed a letter to the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barosso, calling for draft legislation for a structural reform of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) to be brought forward by the end of the year. The letter was signed by 53 businesses, investors and associations, who believe that a clear carbon price signal and long-term visibility are essential to drive investment and growth.
A group of investors responsible for over a trillion (£) of investment worldwide has written to the Chancellor on the day of his speech to the Conservative Party Conference calling for a decarbonisation target to be included in the Energy Bill. They argue that the lack of a target inhibits investment decisions and negatively impacts the UK’s ability to attract the capital needed to update its ageing infrastructure.
Steve Waygood, Chief Responsible Investment Officer at Aviva Investors, who signed the letter said: "We are increasingly factoring climate change risks into the decisions we make, but the confusion over medium-term energy policy is a significant impediment".
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, which co-ordinated the letter with UKSIF, said: “The Chancellor’s lack of support for a decarbonisation target in the Energy Bill is completely out of kilter with mainstream business and investor opinion. Such a target would provide certainty to investors, energy generators and their supply chains, giving a much-needed investment boost to the UK economy."
The Aldersgate Group is investigating how to resolve the complexity and lack of transparency in the UK energy market.
Progressive businesses are leading the way in tackling climate change and many are investing in low carbon energy to lower their carbon footprint. To do so, they frequently pay a premium for "green tariffs" or on-site renewables. But some reporting frameworks (like the CRC) ask businesses to report low carbon electricity to their stakeholders as "grid average", while others (the Climate Change Levy) recognise the purchase as zero carbon. This creates confusion and blocks clear communication of power purchasing decisions to the Board and shareholders.
The Aldersgate Group proposes that a solution would be trusted labelling of purchased electricity. Click here to see an example of an electricity label.
The survey covers your electricity purchasing decisions. It should take around 10 minutes to complete the priority questions. All those who contribute will be able to be kept up to date with the project's progress.
In an essay for Business Green, Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, argues that the trend towards "New Environmentalism" will only gain mass appeal if we ditch the "Environmentalism". He contends that new narratives are needed that have much wider appeal to the general public than traditional "green growth" economic frames and that empower their target audiences. At its heart, this is about a "heroic nation in a struggle for future prosperity" rather than a green "flavour enhancer" that has been largely marginalised in the national debate about growth.
Drawing on the success of the Occupy Movement in shifting the economic debate away from an obsession with public debt, Andrew argues that "we need an economy with purpose that works strategically to make Britain truly 'great' and deliver rising prosperity to its citizens... Short-term fixes and decimal changes in GDP growth will not be sufficient to get us there."
The article is part of a series of essays for a cleaner future which includes contributions from MPs, business leaders, the EU Environment Commissioner and the UK Climate Change Minister.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said that BT's Net Good goal should inspire other businesses to adopt similarly ambitious and holistic sustainability strategies. BT's goal is to be a force for ‘net good’ as "doing less environmental harm is no longer good enough" in the context of rising demand for finite global resources.
Speaking at the launch event in London, he said: "BT's Net Good programme is built on an ambitious vision that goes much further than traditional approaches to corporate sustainability. At its heart is an exploration of how a company can be net good, not less bad. This is at the vanguard of an exciting new corporate movement that explores more fully the role for business in society and has the potential to spur real change."
An Aldersgate Group seminar has found that the UK could be at the forefront of providing technology solutions to global megatrends but needs a more ambitious vision and enabling framework to ensure success.
According to the SMARTer 2020 report by GeSI, ICT enabled solutions have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 16.5%, create 29.5 million jobs and yield USD1.9 trillion of savings by 2020 worldwide.
On the 24th June 2013, Microsoft, GeSI and the Aldersgate Group hosted an industry event to explore the role of ICT and cloud computing to build world-leading industries in the UK and address global megatrends such as climate change and resource insecurity. The outcomes recommend how the Government's Information Economy Industrial Strategy could help meet these objectives. (To read these outcomes, please see the attached executive summary.)
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "we warmly welcome the publication of the Information Economy Industrial Strategy that was launched by the Prime Minister a few weeks ago. It sets out how Government and industry could work much more collaboratively on a long term vision that goes beyond political cycles to enable the UK to be a leader in this digital revolution. To be a success, it needs to address how the UK can provide the solutions to long term global trends, such as population growth, ageing populations, climate change and resource scarcity."
The Aldersgate Group has warmly welcomed a letter from 12 European Government Ministers which supports the EU ETS back-loading proposals and calls on the European Commission to bring forward structural reform proposals by the end of the year. In a joint statement, the Aldersgate Group also called on the Commission and Ministers to work together for early agreement on an EU 2030 Climate and Energy Framework.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "Businesses are concerned that the EU ETS is not providing the right price signals to stimulate investment and growth in low carbon goods and services. Supply of carbon permits continue to dwarf demand which is threatening the viability of the European carbon market. Business leaders are calling for an urgent short-term rescue package and structural reform moving forward."
The Aldersgate Group's proposal of labelling purchased electricity was one of three finalists at this year's Green Corporate Energy day.
Facing stiff competition from Energy Deck and Newform Energy, Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, presented the concept of "Enable the Label", showing how an A-G labelling system for electricity could increase demand for low carbon electricity and thereby stimulate construction of additional capacity.
Audience voting chose the winner, with 'Enable the Label' pipped at the post by two percentage points, by Energy Deck. Congratulations to both our fellow finalists!
The Aldersgate Group is looking for a supplier with excellent knowledge of the energy market and experience in economic modelling, to undertake a high profile research project.
This project will evaluate the benefits of an A-G labelling system for electricity in the UK. The work will be overseen by a group of Green Energy Leaders: BSkyB, BT, Cisco, Ernst & Young, HSBC, Reed Elsevier and the Retail Energy Forum. If you would be interested to find out more, please email Victoria Fleming-Williams for the full scope. Closing date is 12th July 2013.
The Aldersgate Group hosted an event in partnership with the Trillion Fund in the run-up to the G8 summit to discuss the opportunities for transforming our present energy infrastructure to one that is low carbon.
World leaders may have taken climate change off the G8 agenda, but investing in a clean energy future remains a priority for business and society. This event discussed the huge economic opportunities for updating our models of energy generation, supply and ownership.
The lively debate included a panel of expert speakers including Vivienne Westwood (Vivienne Westwood Ltd), Greg Barker (Minister for Energy & Climate Change), Amory Lovins (Rocky Mountain Institute), Zoe Williams (Guardian) and Yvo de Boer (KPMG) among others.
The Aldersgate Group and its business members are encouraged to see how many MPs recognise that a 2030 decarbonisation target is essential for driving investment and economic growth.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “Today’s Energy Bill debate in the House of Commons revealed growing momentum behind the target – including among Conservative backbench MPs who defended constituents’ interests in the face of party whips. Just 12 more votes would have secured the carbon free power sector that businesses have been calling for. This provides growing impetus as the debate moves to the House of Lords in a few weeks time."
Two of the UK’s leading business and investor associations, the Aldersgate Group (AG) and the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF), jointly call today on MPs to vote in favour of a target in the Energy Bill that would commit the UK to a near carbon free power sector by 2030.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the AG, told the Guardian: "Businesses and investors have been loud and clear that such a target would not only reduce costs but provide greater certainty for companies to invest in the development of UK supply chains and jobs. It's a pro-growth and pro-deficit reduction strategy."
Simon Howard, Chief Executive of UKSIF, said: "There is significant investor appetite for the UK to be a global leader in profitable low carbon energy solutions, providing the high quality innovation and jobs that the country needs to ensure a future economic recovery. We call on MPs to recognise this and vote in favour of enshrining the 2030 decarbonisation target in the bill."
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, has said that UK businesses are concerned that a gas-heavy power system would increase exposure to price volatility and energy insecurity.
Speaking at the Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum on the role of gas in the UK's electricity market, he said: "it is impossible to accurately predict the price of future energy technologies as it depends on so many variable factors, such as the global supply and demand for gas, the costs of carbon capture technology at scale and learning rates for renewable technologies."
"The challenge for Government is to manage unavoidable uncertainties and hedge against the risk of policy failure. Analysis by E3G demonstrates that if CCS is more expensive than predicted, or we under-deliver on energy efficiency, we might be forced to choose between affordable or low carbon energy further down the line. The costs of a gas intensive power sector in these scenarios could be up to 98% higher."
Responding to an article by Martin Wolf in the Financial Times on "why the world faces climate chaos", Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said that "there is an alternative to watching the rise of greenhouse gases until it is too late".
In a letter published in the FT on 17th May, Mr Raingold argued that the technologies are available to meet the climate chaos challenge. He said: "analysis from a number of internationally respected organisations, such as the International Energy Agency, demonstrate that the technical challenges of scale and cost reduction can be reasonably circumvented to address energy security, economic development, climate change and universal access to modern energy services. This can be unlocked through active political and business leadership around a sellable vision of a prosperous low carbon economy that Mr Wolf describes, rather than waiting until after the event."