Responding to the Prime Minister’s speech on Net Zero, Energy UK’s chief executive, Emma Pinchbeck said:
“Sudden changes to policies and targets like this are damaging to the very investment we need to fund the move towards Net Zero and jeopardise the economic benefits and opportunities this transformation could bring in terms of jobs, growth and greater prosperity to all parts of the country.
“Businesses need certainty and stability when making long-term investments worth billions of pounds and targets help provide exactly that. That way businesses can invest, innovate and bring down the costs of low-carbon technologies that we need to adopt like heat pumps and electric vehicles – exactly as they have been doing. As recently as yesterday, Ministers were stressing their continuing commitment to these policies – so it’s alarming for companies considering UK investments in these areas when these same policies are shelved the next day.
“When an estimated 70% of the funding we need for Net Zero will come from the private sector and at a time when other countries are stepping up their efforts to attract green investment, we cannot risk that money going elsewhere. It’s strange to cite our world-leading progress in reducing emissions and developing low-carbon technologies and then decide that is a reason for slowing down, and risk surrendering that position and those opportunities to other countries.
“We very much welcome the extra support for customers with the Boiler Upgrade Scheme and the Government’s commitment to bring forward a Spatial Energy Plan as well as speed up grid connections. We heard the Prime Minister talk about greater transparency and accountability, and that is what the private sector needs. We need a clear vision and plan on how we stay on track for Net Zero, rather than just hoping to, after today’s changes and how, for example, this affects the emissions reductions needed from different sectors. It means acknowledging the evidence showing that a slower approach makes reaching the target more difficult and more expensive and can itself impose extra costs on people. We have seen the result when green targets have been shelved in the past – not least when customers have had to pay hundreds of pounds more in energy bills because they live in draughty properties.
“The Prime Minister also talked about the cost to households but it can’t be emphasised enough that what has hit people in the pocket hard over the last 18 months – through record energy bills, the resulting effect on inflation and the cost-of-living – has been the cost of oil and gas. By slowing efforts to reduce our dependency, we do leave our economy and our people at the mercy of volatile expensive fossil fuels for longer.”
Energy UK briefing: The benefits of these policies to people and the economy
Webpage: Stats and facts about Net Zero