“Economic and climate lunacy”: Ed Davey on Tory energy policy

Edward Davey - photo copyright John Russell - johnrussell.zenfolio.com

So writes Ed Davey for The Guardian:

In the past three months, for the first time in our history, Britain produced more electricity from renewable sources than it did from coal. Between 2010 and 2015, Britain’s renewable power capacity trebled, with over £40bn invested into onshore and offshore wind farms, solar PV and biomass.

But that massive progress in clean energy is about to slow dramatically, thanks to policy changes brought in since May’s general election. Without Liberal Democrats in coalition, the new Conservative government is slashing the low-carbon energy investment Britain needs if we are to tackle climate change and reduce our reliance on imported fossil fuels…

Happily, the Conservatives cannot undo much of what the coalition achieved: from the trebling of the UK’s renewable power capacity to the 27 contracts I signed in March for more renewable power plants to be built over the next few years, the Lib Dems’ green legacy stands. I have heard that the chancellor has asked if he can get out of the contracts I signed. But he can’t. So I’m looking forward to Conservative ministers opening onshore and offshore wind farms that I commissioned.

But the bad news is the Conservatives are failing dramatically to build on the green opportunity we helped create: of tumbling prices for wind and solar power, of a world-beating offshore wind industry, and of the world’s first ever low-carbon power market…

Conservative ministers are now unbelievably trying to blame this on Liberal Democrat so-called “profligacy”. Yet Tory claims that the low-carbon energy budget is overspent don’t stand up: they have conveniently forgotten that I negotiated a contingency just in case wholesale gas prices fell, as they now have. By not using that agreed contingency, the Conservatives are effectively cutting our long-term green energy investment. It’s economic and climate lunacy.

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