UK On Shaky Track to Energy Targets

THE UK Government claims the country is on track to reduce emissions by 34% by 2020 due to Government reforms towards a low-carbon economy, despite disputes over energy policy.

UK Secretary of State, Edward Davey, yesterday revealed the Government’s assessment of progress made in reducing emissions across each sector of the economy.

The UK Government also claims the UK is the first country in the world to provide investors with certainty over funding levels for low-carbon generation through to 2021, and yesterday the Government published for consultation, details of how its reforms to the electricity market will be implemented.

Davey said: “Our latest projections show that we are on track to meet our first three carbon budgets, but we recognise the scale of the challenge that we face in delivering further emissions reductions and meeting the target of the fourth carbon budget. We agree that we need to increase the rate of decarbonisation which is why we are taking action in a number of areas across the economy.”

Despite these claims of progress for the future, the announcement came on the day that one of the UK's biggest utility companies, Southern Electric (SSE), announced an 8.2% rise in energy prices, largely blaming enforced charges due to green initiatives, such as the Energy Companies Obligations (ECO), which ensures that low income households receive energy efficiency upgrades.

The Government is suffering from opposition, within and without, over the ECO, with the Chancellor George Osborne calling for the ending of the scheme, which only started in February. This is after pressure from the utility companies who claim ECO adds too much to energy bills.

Despite this, the UK Government set out actions it is taking in a number of areas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions - including ECO! The measures include:

  • Reforming our electricity market to attract investment in low carbon electricity generation while maintaining security of supply and minimising consumer bills.
  • Encouraging the uptake of energy efficiency measures through the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation, and providing more support to fuel poor households.
  • Building a market for renewable heat through the Renewable Heat Incentive
  • Publishing an energy efficiency strategy and announcing a £250 million Energy Intensive Industries package to ensure that UK companies can remain competitive during the shift to a low carbon economy.
  • Committing over £500 million to support the switch to the latest Ultra Low Emission Vehicle technology and £37 million of funding for plug-in vehicle charging infrastructure across the UK.
  • Continuing to push for the EU to raise its ambition by moving to a tighter 2020 emissions target.

Picture of UK Parliament by Mgimelfarb (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Friday 11th October 2013

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