Nuclear, wind and wave power chiefs in joint appeal on green energy

 

The leaders of Britain's nuclear, wind and tidal industries today put aside years of mutual suspicion and antipathy with an unprecedented joint appeal to ministers not to abandon their commitment to combat climate change.

With the Government badly split over green energy, the heads of organisations representing more than 1,000 nuclear and renewables companies have written to David Cameron, George Osborne and Ed Davey calling on them to agree a legally binding decarbonisation target for electricity generation.

The letter, seen by The Independent, marks the first time that Britain's nuclear and renewables industries have made common cause together. It also reveals their fears that climate change sceptics in Government who are pushing for a new “dash for gas” may be winning the internal arguments in Whitehall.

Significantly, the joint approach has won the backing of the environmental group Greenpeace - despite its long-standing opposition to nuclear power. It welcomed the “unity” demonstrated by the low and zero carbon industries who signed the letter and their goal to take carbon almost completely out of the electricity system by 2030.

Nick Clegg, Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne are due to discuss the Energy Bill at a meeting of the Government's decision making “quad” later this week.

A meeting due to be held last week was cancelled at the last minute after it was concluded that the two sides were still too far apart to reach agreement on the Bill. The Liberal Democrats are demanding that the Treasury effectively guarantees the returns that the nuclear and renewable industries will make by generating clear power as a way of reducing their huge upfront investment costs. 

However, Mr Osborne is refusing to endorse this approach. He is said to favour encouraging more gas-fired power station to provide for Britain's near term energy needs. Although more expensive to run in the long term, they are cheaper to build now and would, he believes, help keep down energy bills.

The letter to the Government is signed by the chief executives of RenewableUK, which represents more than 600 wind and wave and tidal energy producers, the Nuclear Industry Association and the Carbon Capture and Storage Association, which represents “clean gas” generation.

It calls on ministers to quickly publish and push through the Government's Energy Bill to provide the investment certainties that companies' need. “It is essential that the Energy Bill should proceed without delay,” they warn. “Any significant slippage could result in investment being postponed, with major implications for associated new industrial development and jobs in a high-tech, high growth sector.”

It also asked ministers to back the recommendation by the Government's own Committee on Climate Change to largely decarbonise electricity generation by 2030 to ensure the UK is meets its long term emissions targets.

“If a reference were included in the Energy Bill to this objective, this would not only reassure potential investors by lowering the perceived political risks, but could also reduce the cost of capital for decarbonising the power sector. We therefore believe that this could be very important for investment going forward,” they write.

Welcoming the letter John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace, said: “This letter shows that whilst different industries will have differing preferences for the exact mix of energy technologies, there is unity from across huge swathes of the business community on the need for a clear goal in the energy bill to take carbon almost completely out of the electricity system by 2030.

“As well as helping reduce the risks of climate change, this would help counter the overwhelming sense of confusion currently hanging over the direction of UK energy policy.”

Kirsty Alexander, director of communications at the Nuclear Industry Association said: “This joint letter is an unprecedented move by the three main low carbon energy technologies to stand united on a single issue.

“We all agree on the urgent need to largely decarbonise the power sector by 2030. This is both achievable and good for the economy.  We need a diverse energy sector and we all have a part to play.”

Jennifer Webber, director of external affairs at RenewableUK added: “It is an important step that representatives of all low carbon industries are coming together to urge the Government to ensure investor confidence in maintained in the UK.

”We are saying to ministers that we need a balanced mix of technologies if we are to succeed in our goal of decarbonising electricity generation.“

A Spokesman for the Department for Energy and Climate Change said: “Our intention is to introduce this vital legislation to the House this month. We are currently considering the pros and cons of setting a decarbonisation target. Energy Secretary Edward Davey has signalled his support for having a target.”

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Sport
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
football
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
News
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Travel
travel
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears