MPs on the Opposition-majority Energy Committee at Westminster are to investigate the dramatic fall in investor confidence in the UK renewables sector.
As reported by Scottish Energy News earlier this week, the UK has dropped out of the world Top Ten countries regarded as being ‘investor-attractive’ for renewables.
Where Scottish Energy News leads, MPs follow; see: Britain drops out of World Top 10 investor-attractive renewable energy markets – http://goo.gl/w3YhgE
Following our article, SNP MP Angus MacNeil (Western Isles) – chairman of the Westminster Energy Committee – confirmed that MPs will investigate the issue of investor confidence in the UK energy sector.
He said: “We have just learnt that the UK has lost its place in the top ten markets for clean energy, as investors look to more attractive markets overseas.
“Energy projects like offshore wind farms and nuclear power stations can take years from planning to completion, so maintaining investor confidence is crucial if we want to upgrade our energy system.
“Energy experts have told us that the government has spooked investors with a series of sudden energy policy changes announced over the summer without proper parliamentary scrutiny.
“We will be looking at what steps Government must take to restore confidence in the UK’s energy sector and improve DECC’s policy making processes.”
“Stakeholders called for greater coherence, transparency, consistency and evidence in the policies coming from the Department for Energy (DECC). As a result, the Committee is now seeking views on the energy investment landscape in the UK and steps that DECC could take to increase investor confidence.”
The Committee will be investigating the factors that contribute to investor confidence in the energy sector and to build an understanding of how DECC’s policy-making process might impact on investor decisions. These factors include:
- Where is future investment in the energy sector going to come from? Which types of entities/organisations will invest? What are their criteria for investment decisions?
- How does the UK compare with other countries in terms of policy risk? Are there examples of best practice that the UK could learn from?
- How well does DECC consider the needs of investors in its policy making process?
- What steps could DECC take to reduce policy uncertainty and increase investor confidence?
- How does DECC’s use of evidence affect investor confidence? Can you provide any specific examples where evidence has been used well or poorly?
The deadline for submissions is 26 October 2015.
MPs will also investigate two other key energy issues:
Home energy efficiency and demand reduction. With the recent closing of the Green Deal, and the Energy Company Obligation due to come to an end, getting the next policies right will be crucial to address an area that many felt was not well represented in DECC’s thinking. In the first instance, the Committee is looking to gather lessons learnt from previous schemes.
The evidence received will feed into our scrutiny of energy efficiency policies over the course of this Parliament and we may seek further written submissions as DECC’s policy in this area evolves over the coming months.
Low carbon network infrastructure. Most important energy policy considerations will be difficult to deliver without an effective energy infrastructure. The Committee will therefore be gathering evidence on the limitations of the current electricity network, and how it can be improved to address the challenges of today and tomorrow.
In addition to these three inquiries, the Committee will also look into concerns about capacity margins for gas and electricity this winter through a one-off session on UK security of supply.