The New UK Government is pushing for 30% emissions cuts in Europe in addition to revealing hotly anticipated domestic energy policy. The Coalition, formed by the Conservative party and the Liberal Democrats on May 10th, 2010 signals a change in power in the UK for the first time in 13 years. The European Future Energy Forum speaks exclusively to some of the parties and our expert speakers about what we can expect in the future.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne, who will be speaking at the European Future Energy Forum said:
"Climate change is the greatest threat to our common future. We must now go further and faster to turn climate change targets into real action.
"We also know that energy investors need certainty to make the substantial investment decisions that are required to decarbonise the energy sector. A meaningful carbon price would drive the deployment of clean energy technology and help secure our future energy supplies. Getting a global deal on climate change, pushing for a 30% cut in emissions for the EU and the introduction of a carbon floor price here in the UK are all part of that."
While Jos Delbecke, Director General for EU Climate Action said on June 14, 2010 that the commission will be holding "months of dialogue" before reaching a decision on increasing emissions targets across Europe, the commission itself is pushing for a 30% cut by 2020.
While the debate over the EU-wide cuts will continue and certainly be leading the discussion at the European Future Energy Forum, here are some reactions to the recent developments:
According to Ben Caldecott of Climate Change Capital, who will be chairing the ‘Low Carbon Financing Across Europe’ session on Oct. 20, 2010 :
"Moving from a 20% to a 30% emissions reduction target by 2020 is absolutely essential if Europe is to stimulate the investment required to effectively tackle climate change and create the green jobs and industries of the future. It will ensure that Europe’s emissions reduction target is in-line with the urgency of the task at hand and that Europe can retain its position as a global leader on these issues."
Broadly, the UK government has expressed their commitment "to implement a full programme of measures to fulfill our joint ambitions for a low carbon and eco-friendly economy". These measures include: The full establishment of feed-in tariff systems in electricity – as well as the maintenance of banded ROCs, the establishment of a smart grid and no new runaways at Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick.
In reaction, Nick Winser, National Grid’s Executive Director for Transmission, who will be chairing the ‘Smart Grids, Super Grids’ session on Oct. 20, 2010 said:
"We share the vision of the new coalition Government in wanting to achieve a low carbon and eco friendly economy. Delivery of this low carbon future must also be affordable and maintain our security of supply. But crucially, new energy infrastructure is urgently needed and decisions will have to be taken soon to create the right conditions for investment."
The UK government have decided that they will establish an emissions performance standard that will prevent coal-fired power stations being built unless they are equipped with sufficient CCS to meet the emissions performance standard. They will continue with the former government’s plans for public sector investment in CCS technology for four coal-fired power stations.
According to Jeff Chapman, Chief Executive, UK Carbon Capture and Storage Association, who will be speaking in the ‘Carbon Capture Storage’ Session on Oct 21, 2010::
"We look forward to working with the new UK Government to ensure an EPS is introduced effectively. There is a potential for unintended consequences such as inhibiting investment in fossil fuel power stations. However, we are confident that we will come to a sensible arrangement as the new Government are clearly committed to the deployment of CCS in the UK."
One of the most hotly anticipated domestic policies surrounds nuclear energy in the UK, the Liberal Democrats are strongly opposed to the nuclear energy. The policy states that the Liberal Democrats will abstain when plans for the replacement of existing nuclear plants come before parliament and there will be no public subsidy.
Speaking exclusively to the European Future Energy Forum, Lady Barbara Thomas Judge, Chairman, UK Atomic Energy Authority, who will be chairing the ‘The Future Role of Nuclear Power’ session on Oct 20, 2010 said:
"The UK is still committed to the construction of new nuclear power plants. All parties involved have been assured that plans that were in progress in the UK should be continued. We feel a growing consensus amongst the UK public that building new nuclear power plants is imperative to diversify our energy supply".
As the UK’s new coalition government continues to outline plans for future energy policy, the European Future Energy Forum – held in association with Masdar and the UKTI – will be providing a global leadership platform in London to discuss key issues around sustainable and alternative energy solutions and technologies.
The European Future Energy Forum 2010, will be taking place in ExCeL London, October 19/21 and will be the fifth event in the series since the initiative was launched in 2008.
A first glimpse of the programme reveals the UK Atomic Energy Authority, Climate Change Capital, Chatham House, National Grid and the Financial Times all hosting high level debates over the three days.
Fifteen conference sessions are now confirmed and will be addressing a plethora of topics including infrastructure and supply chain, renewable energies, EU policy, Financing and green buildings.