Debate on UK Government Energy Bill’s Impact on Humber

POLITICIANS, business leaders and environmental groups in the Humber are to debate how the Government’s Energy Bill could affect the area’s renewables ambition.

An influential panel of speakers is to use an event in Hull to explain how the legislation may shape the potential of a new, green, economy in the region.

The Energising England: Building A Low Carbon Economy On The Humber event takes place on Friday, March 22 at the Albemarle Music Centre and has been organised by Friends of the Earth.

It is expected the critical issue of having a target in the Energy Bill to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector will be among those topics discussed at the session. The Bill is currently going through Parliament and will become law later this year.

The Government is proposing to delay including the target in the legislation but some energy businesses, including Siemens, have warned this does not give the certainty they require to invest in the UK.

The event will be chaired by Friends of the Earth’s senior England campaigner, Jane Thomas, and speakers include:

  • Alan Johnson, MP for Hull West and Hessle
  • Andy Atkins, executive director, Friends of the Earth
  • Lord Haskins, chairman, Humber Local Enterprise Partnership
  • Marc Paish, chief technical officer, Pulse Tidal
  • Sam Pick, business development director, Renewables Network

The event is being staged at a time when the Humber is developing a reputation as a key region for renewable energy, particularly as a supply chain hub for offshore wind and marine energy manufacturing.

 Andy Atkins, Friends of the Earth’s executive director said: “The Energy Bill gives some clarity for developing renewables up to 2020.

 “But for businesses looking to invest millions in the future development of the renewables industry, the Bill just doesn’t give sufficient certainty over policy beyond 2020.

 “Businesses, politicians, environmental groups and government advisors are calling on the Government to introduce a target to reduce carbon emissions from our power sector by 2030.

 “This target will then create a business environment that will trigger investment in the renewables sector, creating jobs, skills and economic opportunities for areas like the Humber while delivering on the UK’s commitments on climate change.

 “Energising England will highlight the significant role the Humber region could play across several fields of renewable energy if Government get the policy framework right.”

The free event – which will feature a question and answer session – will highlight what activity is already happening in the sector locally and how the Government could help influence sustained economic prosperity for the area.

Mr Johnson said: “Hull and the Humber is in the forefront of the renewables revolution.

 “For us, the central issue of reducing carbon emissions has the added potential of renewing our economy and providing well-paid jobs for local people.”

Over the next decade, nearly a quarter of the country’s power generation is going to be closed down.

This presents the Government with a real challenge, how to meet demand for electricity affordably while meeting the UK’s commitments to cut carbon emissions.

The Energy Bill currently before Parliament will introduce new ways in which power generators are paid for the electricity they supply. This could trigger investment in different forms of generation including renewables, nuclear or gas.

However, some energy companies have said a lack of decarbonisation target in the Bill undermines long-term planning and will harm the UK’s low carbon sector. Some MPs also share the view and are urging the Government to amend the Energy Bill.

Simon Bowens, Friends of the Earth’s Yorkshire and Humber campaigner, said: “The coalition Government’s Energy Bill will significantly influence investment in energy infrastructure for decades to come.

 “Energising England will bring together business leaders, economic development agencies and local councils, skills providers and environmental groups to share knowledge on what’s happening and what the impact will be on the Humber’s ambition to develop a low carbon economy.”

Energising England is aimed at any business people, civic leaders or others with an interest in low carbon industry and is also open to the public, community groups and the voluntary sector.

Organised by Friends of the Earth, the session is being run in association with the group’s local branch, together with Humber-based businesses Renewables Network and Footprint Renewables.

The event takes place at the Albemarle Music Centre, Ferensway, Hull, with networking and buffet from 11.30am and presentations and debate between 12 noon and 2pm.

[mappress]

Press release, March 18, 2013

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