Feeds

Osborne accused of derailing UK.gov's green dream

Energy law 'will only work if Treasury stumps up cash'

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The UK Treasury is accused of dropping an oil slick in the way of the government's Energy Bill, a draft law to lower carbon use and make Blighty more energy efficient.

MPs on the influential Energy and Climate Change Committee said the proposed legislation was "unworkable" because the country's penny counters have refused to underwrite contracts to provide low-carbon electricity to the nation.

"The government is in danger of botching its plans to boost clean energy, because the Treasury is refusing to back new contracts to deliver investment in nuclear, wind, wave and carbon capture and storage," said committee chairman Tim Yeo in a canned statement on Monday.

His criticism fuels an ongoing row over what's being seen as attempts by Chancellor George Osborne to water down eco-friendly energy plans to keep Tory backbenchers happy.

The draft bill, which the select committee is scrutinising, drags the country into a shiny new future in which Britain burns less fossil fuel, meets its EU climate-change target and secures energy supplies.

To do this, the bill proposes "contracts for difference" or CfDs, for which the Treasury is supposed to guarantee the price for the energy wrung out of the planet in a low-carbon manner.

The CfDs therefore remove the risk for investors backing nuclear power station builds or wind farm construction, but the MPs argue that will only happen if the government acts as a guarantor for the prices that the power companies receive.

The latest draft of the law wants to spread the liability from the contracts around the energy companies but the committee said that was "too complex and possibly not legally enforceable".

On top of that, the Treasury is also talking about putting some sort of a cap on green levies, which would ration the number of energy contracts in the first place.

"Nobody wants to see a blank cheque written out for green energy," Yeo said, "but the government must provide investors with more certainty about exactly how much money will be available."

The committee also had issues with how the bill was worded. The MPs said that the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) hadn't put any explicit carbon targets into the legislation.

"We believe that an explicit reference to the carbon budgets in the bill, as well as making the Committee on Climate Change a statutory consultee on the delivery plan, would help to create greater certainty about the UK's commitment to meeting its statutory obligations," the committee said in its report.

The draft bill will also make the six biggest energy firms even more dominant, according to the MPs, by reducing competition and stopping new entrants to the market. The committee said the government should incentivise power companies to reduce the public's demand for energy. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives
Department of Transportation starts cogs turning for another wireless comms standard
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.