by Steve Beasant on 6 January, 2016
The following article was published today on the Liberal Democrat Voice Website.
BusinessGreen refers to some of Ed Davey’s recent comments as a ‘blistering attack’ in which he ‘slams Conservative ministers’.
He was responding to some research, including Freedom of Information requests, that was carried out by the Carbon Brief. In a nutshell, Conservative ministers have been claiming that household energy bills were rising because of a projected overspend of £1.5 billion by 2020 on subsidies for clean energy. Hence, they claim there was an urgent need to cut the subsidies for renewables.
But the disclosed emails between officials at the Department of Energy and Climate Change show that by last summer they already knew that energy bills would be 7% lower than originally projected.
According to BusinessGreen, Ed Davey claimed that ‘the revelations provided further evidence the government had slashed renewable energy subsidies on the false premise there was excessive upward pressure on energy bills. He also urged ministers to now release the full detail of the calculations used to project a £1.5bn overspend.’
How the alleged overspend … was calculated unfortunately remains a mystery. The scandalous lack of openness and transparency on that crucial calculation means the Conservatives are decimating a whole industry, with no convincing hard evidence to justify their decisions.
These emails do at least confirm what I’ve argued all along… I told [George] Osborne we needed an LCF where investment spend was robust to short term fluctuations in wholesale fossil fuel prices. He wouldn’t accept our plans to design out the problem, but agreed instead to a 20 per cent contingency above the levy control ceiling, if wholesale prices turned out lower than expected.
Now that they have, and because Lib Dems aren’t there to keep them honest, the Conservatives are failing to use that contingency. This is Alice in Wonderland economics, which is butchering the UK’s successful renewables industry.Leave a comment