London, 14 September – The Industry and Regulators Committee of the House of Lords is currently holding an inquiry into the costs of Net Zero, the Government’s plans for total decarbonisation of the economy and the role of Ofgem, the energy regulator.
The inquiry is taking evidence on the cost and potential impacts of a renewable energy system, how policymakers should consider the interests of future generations, and the role of carbon pricing.
The Global Warming Policy Forum has already submitted written evidence, and this morning Dr Constable, the GWPF’s energy editor, will answer the committee’s further questions orally.
The GWPF has repeatedly drawn attention to growing evidence that casts doubt on official estimates of the costs and feasibility of renewable energy to reduce CO2 emissions to meet the targets implied in the Climate Change Act (2008) and more recently the 2050 Net Zero target that has replaced it.
In our written evidence we observed, amongst other matters, that:
* Increasing volumes of intermittent, renewable forms of electricity generation are adding high, unnecessary costs to consumer energy bills. These include balancing costs which are rising to cope with increasing grid instability, such as that seen in recent days, when coal stations were brought on to the system in an emergency.
* The high costs of decarbonisation are creating a tension between Ofgem’s statutory objectives of delivering the government’s green energy policies and keeping bills low for consumers. Ofgem’s role should be redefined to ensure that the consumer interest takes precedence, as it did before misconceived changes to its terms of reference in the Energy Act of 2010.
Dr Constable will reinforce these concerns and will urge policy makers to put pressure on the government to reform Ofgem so that the consumer interest is once again balanced in a fair and proportional way against climate policy goals.
Dr Constable said:
The consumer is being taken for granted by climate policy makers, and regarded merely as a passive and unresisting source of cash. This is already creating real anger as electricity costs and failing system reliability take their toll. Surprisingly, Ofgem, the regulator, seems reluctant to take a stand. This is bad for consumers, and also bad for the climate policies which are nose-diving into economic disaster and public disgrace.
Parliament needs to wake up to these problems so that the interest of British households and businesses are fully taken into consideration by a reformed energy regulator.”
Dr Constable will give evidence to the House of Lords Industry and Regulators Committee today at 10am. The full committee session can be watched live on Parliament TV.