The CBI is calling for a significant shift in the direction of UK energy policy, warning the current approach is making energy security harder to achieve and jeopardising our ability to meet climate change targets.
In a new report launched today called Decision Time, the CBI warns that current policy is incentivising investments in wind power which will result in too little investment in other forms of low-carbon energy, such as nuclear and clean coal and wants to see the percentage of wind power expected by 2020 under the Renewables Strategy reduced.
“Large chunks of our energy infrastructure urgently need replacing, and we have tough climate change targets to meet,” sais CBI Deputy-Director John Cridland. “However, the Government’s disjointed approach is deterring the private sector investment needed to get our energy system up to scratch, bolster security and cut emissions.
“While we have generous subsidies for wind power, we urgently need the national planning statements needed to build new nuclear plants. If we carry on like this we will end up putting too many of our energy eggs in one basket. But by moving government policy in a different direction we can achieve a good balance of wind, nuclear, gas and clean coal.
However a report also issued today by the Green Party argues against nuclear power, saying that it detracts from investment in renewables.
The Green Party’s spokesperson on trade and industry, Darren Johnson argues that nuclear power stations could not be built quickly enough and would starve the renewables industry, who could deliver, of necessary investment.
“The industry that was going to produce electricity ‘too cheap to meter’ has landed us with massive costs for handling its dangerous waste,” said Johnson.
“The current projects in Finland and France are experiencing safety concerns, long delays and big overspends. There’s no point expecting nuclear to solve the climate crisis, because new stations couldn’t be built fast enough to help achieve the big CO2 reductions we need to make in the next ten years - which mature renewables could deliver.
“We urgently need a Green New Deal to get us out of the recession and start building the sustainable economy of the twenty-first century. We could create hundreds of thousands of jobs in green energy in the next decade. Nuclear power can play no part in that because it takes far too long to build nuclear power stations compared with windfarms and other green measures. Wind energy sustains something like twelve times as many jobs per unit of power as nuclear does.”