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Energy Bill rebellion over decarbonisation target

A former Conservative environment minister is leading a backbench rebellion against the lack of a decarbonisation target in the Energy Bill.

Tory MP Tim Yeo will make a speech ahead of the second reading of the Energy Bill (19 December) urging the Government to reinstate the decarbonisation target abandoned by the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, the Guardian has reported.

Tim Yeo

Tim Yeo MP

Yeo, who is the chairman of the energy and climate change select committee (CCC), said in Business Green: “Setting a target for emissions from electricity generation as recommended by the Climate Change Committee has been put off until 2016, prolonging the political and regulatory uncertainty that is killing investment.”

An amendment to the bill is likely to be brought when it enters the committee and reporting stages early in 2013. This would be supported by Labour, many Liberal Democrats and some Tories. According to the Guardian it would have a reasonable chance of success.

The CCC wanted a decarbonisation target of 50g of CO2 per kWh by 2030, but Yeo has now said he will accept a compromise of 100g per kWh. Current levels are about 490g per kWh.

‘Reasoned amendment’

The Green Party has tabled a ”reasoned amendment’ to the second reading of the Energy Bill, and Labour is also likely to do so. This is a device to continue discussion of the decarbonisation target and a show of dissent, although no amendments can be made until the later stages.

Caroline Lucas, MP and former leader of the Green Party urged: “That this House declines to give a Second Reading to the Energy Bill because it creates a legal framework to lock the UK into expensive, high carbon gas generation for decades to come…

“It will result in vast subsidies to new nuclear power stations, diverting investment away from faster, less costly, more jobs-rich and more secure means of meeting electricity needs such as renewable energy technologies and interconnectors… it deprives smaller independent generators and community or cooperative energy schemes fair access to the market, instead entrenching the dominance of the Big Six energy companies.”

Electricity 2.0.

The anaerobic digestion and biogas industry has welcomed the potential amendment of the Energy Bill to include a decarbonisation target. MRW recently reported that the industry trade body was disappointed by the lack of the target in the bill.

Charlotte Morton, chief executive of the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) told MRW: “Tim Yeo’s efforts to include a 2030 decarbonisation target in the Energy Bill would help give investors the certainty they need to invest in low carbon infrastructure, which, as the Committee on Climate Change has said, would also lead to lower consumer bills in the long term.

“To meet our climate change commitments – and increase our energy security – we need that investment. Technologies such as anaerobic digestion are particularly important, as they offer ultra-low carbon energy which is constantly generated and can be dispatched as needed.”

MRW also reported that the industry was concerned about the lack of a mention of biogas in the Government’s ‘dash for gas’, so Yeo’s vision of an ‘electricity system 2.0.’ that includes anaerobic digestion should also be welcomed.


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