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Clear priorities for DECC

DECC’s priorities are clear: keeping bills as low as possible for hardworking families and businesses and powering the economy while decarbonising in the most cost-effective way.

These are a challenging and critical set of objectives.

DECC has a long term plan, underpinned by carbon budgets, to meet our responsibilities.

Savings from last year have enabled us to protect spend on key areas for 2015/16 including maintaining secure supplies and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Departmental spending will be set out in the Spending Review this autumn and the Department is developing a new operating model which will allow us to work in a smarter, more focused and efficient manner.

Keeping the lights on is non-negotiable. Our modern technological society cannot function without power. A diverse mix, including home-grown sources, provides the most resilient system.

Tackling climate change is also non-negotiable. Climate Change isn’t just a threat to the environment. It’s a threat to our national security, to global security and to our long-term economic prosperity. A global deal is the only way both to deliver the scale of action required and to drive down the costs of climate action; so Paris 2015 is both a serious opportunity to avoid its catastrophic effects and to open up new avenues for low carbon industries.

Going for clean energy makes economic sense. And it makes business sense: clean energy is a boom market – bringing jobs and investment and growth. But it only makes sense if we keep costs pinned down.

The vital financial support that has been provided to the renewable sector has helped new and innovative technologies while increasing the amount of low-carbon electricity that powers homes and businesses across the UK.

Financial support has already driven down the costs of renewables significantly and these are continuing to fall, making it easier for the industry to thrive without subsidies.

To work for everyone, de-carbonisation has to be affordable and sensitive to the impact it has on people’s pockets and wider economic circumstances. New measures such as the early closure of the Renewables Obligation to onshore wind will provide us with better control of spending and ensure bill payers get best value for money as we continue to move to a low-carbon economy.

And in line with keeping bills as low as possible and ensuring markets work for consumers, we are proposing to introduce competition to the way our networks deliver electricity which will open up the energy market to innovation and could potentially save British bill payers £390 million over 10 years.

De-carbonisation must work in particular for the local communities where infrastructure is built. In the Energy Bill introduced this week, as well as keeping bills down, reforms to onshore wind subsidies will put more power in the hands of local people to decide on this now mature technology. The Bill will also help reduce our reliance on foreign imports and support jobs and growth by reinvigorating our domestic oil and gas industry.

The role that UK business can play in meeting the UK’s climate change targets is undoubted. By incentivising reductions in energy consumption and emissions, the government is giving business the tools to achieve that goal.

Likewise, by creating a simple energy tax system that rewards energy and carbon saving, and allows businesses to increase productivity, support growth and ensure their place in a competitive global market, cutting red – or green - tape and bureaucracy. We want to collaborate with industry and the wider green economy sector in the coming months to ensure we develop a framework for simplicity and stability.

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  1. Comment by Gerard Clayton posted on

    When will the next phase of the gdhif be released for external wall insulation. Thanks GerardClayton.

  2. Comment by David Cain posted on

    No mention of the impact of the Budget's CCL-LEC cancellation with 1 month's notice in the blog today ?

  3. Comment by Judith Anderson posted on

    Still struggling to make sense of Budget decision on CCL. If because one third goes to foreign firms, why not change for them? But anyway as CC is a global problem, frankly where does it matter where we buy our green electricity from, given effects of climate change?

  4. Comment by Stuart Cocks posted on

    Ditto, I am eagerly awaiting the news of the fourth phase and would love to know when this is being rolled out.

  5. Comment by Sally Sykes posted on

    Please do the same for solar parks as you have done for onshore wind -remove the subsidies on solar parks that are blighting the countryside and turning fields into brownfield sites for 25-30 years - and are only 10% efficient compared to other renewables. Small handful of investors benefit in Ponzi scheme like solar bonds, environment and tourism are despoiled and local people bear the brunt of a ruined landscape for decades.

    • Replies to Sally Sykes>

      Comment by Matthew Bird posted on

      'Ruined landscape for decades'? No that's fracking and other 'dirty' fossil fuel industries. Solar PV panels can be removed, allow biodiversity to flourish around them and allow the soil to regain enrichment.

    • Replies to Sally Sykes>

      Comment by Sue Reid posted on

      It's not true that solar panels on farm land change them into brown field sites. We are a small farm struggling to make ends meet, the sale price of our lambs continues to fall yet the land need to be maintained. We have planning permission to install on a small field to produce 240kW, all of our small village are supportive, it will not be seen as we are increasing the tree planting and our sheep will continue to graze beneath the panels. No concrete is used and at the end of their life the solar panels would be removed or replaced with similar. When will people understand that we need clean energy and also farmers need to be able to earn a living to continue working the land.

  6. Comment by Global Energy Systems posted on

    When will there be comment of the future of RHI and heat in general?

  7. Comment by Paul E G Cope posted on

    We must stop pouring power into the air at power stations and pour it instead into home heating by home generation so that extra gas is no longer needed for home heating. This can save up to 30% of the UK carbon footprint and 50% on gas imports whilst backing UK technology.

  8. Comment by Phillip Haley posted on

    This has been a big thing for me over the past couple of years..
    I have seen a few avenues to help green energy and have researched as much as i can...
    I would like to propose a few changes and additions to the current legislation for energy creating machines and storage devices..
    1..Deisel/petrol generators should be phased out and replaced with a cleaner alternative..
    2..Car batteries destined for the smelters should be tested and rejuvenated then returned to service at a lower cost to the public..New batteries cost should rise so that we encourage people to use rejuvenated batteries..I personally have recovered at least 80% of batteries destined for the smelters some dating back over 25 years old..
    3...Tighter and clearer manufacturer minimum specifications for energy generating machines and battery chargers..
    4...Review lighting/air conditioning systems in public buildings and factories to use more efficient alternatives that have recently become available..
    5...Release some money to companies that research and develop these new technologies..

    I can be contacted via email if you require further information regarding the new technologies that are available..

  9. Comment by Danny posted on

    I wonder if the change in onshore wind polices will leave wind turbine installers in the cold. What will happen to these companies that were once turning over millions, they all now have to rely on their maintenance contracts to survive. It will mean job cuts and companies dissolving in the future, all in aid to "save the landscape" which is already tarnished with current turbines, solar fields and fracking. Lets be clear, Solar panels and wind turbines may not look the best but at least they will keep our planet alive for longer.

  10. Comment by Ron Brasington posted on

    It appears that the Met Office has lost its contract with the BBC because of tendering regulations and will as a result lose a sizeable amount of its funding. This is outrageous. In the first place we should surely expect a national institution like the BBC to be in a position to support another national institution like the Met Office. Any petty rules which stand in the way of this are certainly not in the national interest. More importantly are we really prepared to see the world class Met Office research activities seriously restricted because of this funding shortfall? Does the government have no overall strategic vision in this area or is it completely laissez-faire? I look forward to hearing that moves will be made within your department to help overturn this decision before it is too late.

    • Replies to Ron Brasington>

      Comment by ian greenwood STEERglobal for Sustainability in Trade Environment Education and Resources posted on

      Is this the same Met office that has staff that have said sea level rise will not be a problem as London's new Thames barrier will be in place by 2050? What about other agriculture, industry commerce, towns and cities? Or the same DECC/ UK that failed to adopt diversion of base rate to public purse in 2007 - a rule change for all commercially-created money that could have helped a lot to fix deficits in UK alone to the tune of £14 billion a year by now and a total over the period of £56 billion, allowing quite a few green investments if ring-fenced for real future-cost-reducing stuff SUCH AS ULTRA-INSULATING (£8 billion a year fundable with high street bank loans if money was there at 2% and at 200,000 homes fitted p.a. 60,000 jobs) and maybe by now storing solar heat interseasonally! They could have released QE investment money directly to get started or via green loans on high streets for approved purposes at 2% thus allowing comprehensive enveloping up to £40k per unit on the savings on gas alone Green-Deal-Plus wise. Thus less of a spike on Electricity reducing outage threats, gas “blackmail” and power station need, also with the following improving on France's 60-year old proven model:

      The new barrier should be out to sea, include London's new airport, be capable of connecting the 70 metre contours in Essex and Kent, allowing shipping in/out and be modelled on the tidal lagoon concept, thus generating lots of tidal energy. South Wales should be designed similarly and connect to North Devon. Surplus night-time energy should be used to empty rivers coming into the resulting semi-saline lagoon, suggested some years ago in the New Civil Engineer publication (letters to editor) and allowing wildlife adjustment. What has yet to be suggested is that this could also be a solution to south-east's water problems with a moveable boom containing fresh water each side of the river mouth. The boom would be protected as the lagoon would be subject less to high wave action. Would fresh water's tendency to float be enough?

      In short Brunellian-type thinking and action needed
      before the engineers old enough to do conceptual design get too old, “snuff it” or get fed up due to being continually ignored by those who might know the cost of “everything” but the value of nothing, or due to lack of hand-skill experience, too long at the desk??
      before the last few of the right kind of civil servant might be forced out simply because of not knowing how money could be made to work better if fewer intermediaries were involved. Also see STEERglobal input to TSC 2007/14 on Globalisation and the real economy, a way of avoiding 'a race to the bottom' in the words of the Treasury Expert at the time? Email for charts.
      Adopt the suggestion to divert the base rate (and take an eco-slice off imports while there is still time).

  11. Comment by Michael Wheale posted on

    Amber has until the 11th of September to give permission for a foreign consortium to build the biggest wind power station in Europe, just off the coast of Bournemouth, Poole, Studland, Swanage and the Isle of White. For 5 years, it will be a building site larger than all of those towns added together. Has anyone seen a building site that is dust free, quiet and has no accidental spillages of building materials, etc?. The long standing 5* Blue Flag golden beaches of Poole Bay are very envied, where children can play on clean sand and swim in clean water. New EU regulations will make it difficult to keep our Blue Flag status, without substantial investment, as is planned. But as building dust, drilling waste and whatever pollutants are generated and are washed ashore, together with dead fish and dead birds, will the EU make a concession and allow our beaches to keep their Blue Flags? .Will you bring your family to enjoy the golden, but greying beaches with signs saying "No Bathing". Amber, please don't turn September 11 into Bournemouth's 9-11.

  12. Comment by Sue Reid posted on

    I cannot see how a commitment to climate change fits with the recent announcement on Solar feed in tariffs. As someone who has spent the last year and a small fortune getting planning for panels in a small field (not overlooked, supported by everyone in our village and will continue to be grazed) there is no way that if the current proposals go ahead that we can go ahead. We will be massively out of pocket and the stress this has caused is just off the scale. All this whilst giving tax breaks for North Sea oil, how does that work ?

  13. Comment by steve jones posted on

    Why hasn't the Dept of Energy and Climate change considered Thorium reactor technology as an alternative to Uranium nuclear plants?
    I am actually interested in a reasoned reply to this question via email.