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Construction leaders write to ministers over energy policy

onshore wind turbine

A group of business leaders including Carillion chief executive Richard Howson have urged the government to back onshore wind and energy storage technology.

An open letter to ministers, signed by 19 senior figures, called for “clear leadership and stable policy” to boost renewable energy generation.

Almost 200 countries signed an agreement at a United Nations conference in Paris in December to limit global warming to 2C this century.

This week’s letter – also signed by Bam Nuttall chief executive Stephen Fox and interim Amec Foster Wheeler chief executive Ian McHoul – said the transition to low carbon energy needed to be properly managed.

“To unlock investment, we need a clear long-term framework – so companies can plan for construction projects that will last into the next decade,” said the letter.

“To ensure we are delivering new low carbon capacity at an affordable cost for consumers, we need to make sure the market is open to all technologies, including new onshore wind developments, where they have local support.

“We also need to make sure we are investing in the capacity of UK supply chains to build on our expertise in existing and future technologies, from offshore wind to carbon capture and storage.

“And to ensure the shift to more intermittent renewable energy doesn’t affect security of supply for homes and businesses, we need to look at how we use technologies to help store electricity and manage peak-time demand, and support the development of new gas and nuclear capacity to help underpin our power grid.”

Energy secretary Amber Rudd insisted the government was taking long-term decisions to tackle a legacy of under-investment, build a system of energy infrastructure fit for the 21st Century, and create the right environment for business to invest in clean, affordable and secure energy.

“We don’t apologise for doing this at the same time as working to keep bills as low as possible and making sure that the people that foot the bill, the hardworking families and businesses of Britain, get a good deal,” she said.

“We know that old and dirty coal, and some ageing nuclear power plants, will be closing over the next few years, and that’s precisely why we’ve put in place a long-term plan to ensure we have secure, affordable and clean energy supplies that can be relied on now and in the future.

“We are the first country to propose an end date to using unabated coal and we will do so in a way that maintains energy security, which comes first. We are clear that a range of energy sources such as nuclear, offshore wind and shale gas all have roles to play in the low-carbon energy mix, powering our country and safeguarding our future economic security.”

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