Queen’s Speech promises commitment on GIB, EMR and water resources

Legislative commitments on the Green Investment Bank (GIB) and Electricity Market Reform (EMR) were both included in today's Queen's Speech, along with the promise of a draft bill dealing with the reform of the water industry.

The commitment to introduce legislation to ‘establish’ the GIB is in line with business secretary Vince Cable’s announcement in March this year that the new bank will be headquartered in Edinburgh and that it will be “in a position to be fully operational this Autumn”.

The timetable for the GIB to achieve full borrowing status, however, is scheduled to take until April 2015, a date which, even then, is subject to public sector net debt falling as a percentage of GDP.

The EMR commitment upholds a previous Government pledge that it would legislate for the key elements of this package in the second session of this Parliament, starting in May 2012. The intention is to ensure that such legislation reaches the statute book by spring 2013, allowing the first low-carbon projects to be supported under its provisions ‘around 2014’.

There has, of course, been growing impatience in some industry sectors with the slow progress of the EMR process, including a warning given to Emily Bourne, head of the EMR programme team, when she addressed the Scottish Renewables annual conference in Edinburgh in March this year.

Simon Christian, UK managing director of ScottishPower Renewables, said at the time that uncertainty over EMR was effectively blocking projects timed to start beyond 2017, due to future revenue uncertainties.

The Queen’s Speech declaration on EMR today, however, went no further that to confirm that legislation would be introduced to “deliver secure, clean and affordable electricity and ensure prices as fair”.

The commitment on water resources was equally brief, committing to the publication of a draft bill to “reform the water industry in England and Wales”.

Edie staff

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