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New UK Energy bill: Sink or swim

James Vaccaro comments on government's 'dash for gas'

11-10-2012 | While the government is currently working on the draft energy bill to reform the UK electricity market, Triodos head of Market and Corporate Development, James Vaccaro calls for a shift toward renewable energy.

James Vaccaro screen

"Now we face the choice about whether we are committed to a sustainable infrastructure or want to carry on investing in carbon intensive exhaustive energy resources."

James Vaccaro, Market and Corporate Development, Triodos Bank

The UK Energy Bill is due before the Commons shortly and maps out measures to attract £110 billion investment which is needed to replace current generating capacity and upgrade the grid by 2020, and to cope with a rising demand for electricity. But the major question is how this target is going to be reached.

Long term gains over short term solutions


Now we face the choice about whether we are committed to a sustainable infrastructure or want to carry on investing in carbon intensive exhaustive energy resources. If the Government chooses to go for the sustainable option and stick its neck out for renewable energy as a viable option to cope with the rising demand for electricity, than we do need firm targets. Without this commitment there is uncertainty. This makes private investment more risky - e.g. less likely and more costly. If we have ambitious targets that everyone has confidence in then green and renewable energy projects will get the finance that they need - it will be quicker and cheaper.

Additionally, setting out a very clear roadmap for a low-carbon transition will allow greater possibility to invest in other parts of supporting infrastructure that would otherwise be held back by uncertainty. This includes enhanced grid development and power storage.

Supported by a robust and coherent roadmap of energy generation, the supply chain across the sector will be able to integrate the optimal level of energy efficiency savings. Targeted support for developing technologies will accelerate cost reductions and in some cases, for example in marine energy, allow the UK to take a leadership position in a global market. But even for those technologies without UK based manufacturers, volume growth in deployment will underpin growth in jobs across the whole supply chain.

If it is a case of sink or swim as the Prime Minister suggests, then making the right decisions now can make sure we have a buoyant energy industry into the future.

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