Frenzied manoeuvring ahead of energy bill
The past fortnight has seen a lot of lobbying and vocalising, with the UK government’s energy bill about to be finally put before the House of Commons.
The cabinet has received two separate letters; One from the renewable energy sector and another from the unlikely partnership of nuclear and renewables together imploring the government not to u-turn on its carbon emission reduction commitments.
There is a fear amongst these sectors that the treasury’s preference for gas power could seriously hurt their industries.
Meanwhile banks have finance for projects, yet no one to take it up.
Jamie Thrower, the Senior Director for Royal Bank of Scotland’s energy finance unit says lenders are keen to finance renewable projects and told a gathering at the Power Generation Investment annual forum in London ‘we need more projects please.’
I am struggling for analogies here but it’s like the parties in a court case trying somehow to influence the verdict, one which will be delivered by a judge with a perceived political bias.
The biggest example of sharp elbows being exhibited is of course from politicians in the energy ministry itself. Energy Secretary Edward Davey is resolute about enabling renewable energy to get the country’s carbon emissions down to the targets set.
However ‘colleague’ and Energy Minister John Hayes is sending out altogether different signals. Is this Punch and Judy show for real or is there something more Machiavellian going on?
Maybe Davey realises being unyielding about reducing emissions will drive up energy bills to the point that the government is driven out. He could be playing good green cop as a charade, knowing that there must be some give, if the present administration is to survive.
Meanwhile perhaps Cameron, Osborne, Hayes and company are playing to their supporters despite knowing they have to offer some allegiance to their initial goal of greenest government ever, not to mention that goal of reducing CO2.
Are we witnessing a carefully choreographed sequence from Hayes and Davey ahead of the bill announcement or is that conspiracy theory giving them too much credit?
In any case the Power Generation Investment forum looked unfortunately timed as everything is on standby until the bill is produced.
Begging letters, political intrigue and idle speculation will all be put in perspective before the month of November is out.