Uncertainty is blocking energy developments, says industry

A plea for Government to remove uncertainty from future energy support as a matter of priority was voiced yesterday (March 27) by Simon Christian, UK managing director of ScottishPower Renewables

The request followed a progress report on Electricity Market Reform (EMR) given by Emily Bourne, head of the EMR programme team, when she addressed the Scottish Renewables annual conference in Edinburgh.

“Uncertainty creates unrest,” said Mr Christian, adding that projects timed to start beyond 2017 were no longer being looked at by developers, pending decisions on EMR.

“Uncertainty is driving developers to focus very short-term. We’ve got a lot who are looking to have projects commissioned and exporting by the end of March next year and some medium term activity running up to 2017, again driven by EMR and the RO expiring at that point. For anything beyond 2017, however, it’s difficult to create interest due to future revenue uncertainties.

“My priority for Government therefore is to move swiftly to remove these uncertainties, giving us clarity over support mechanisms so that we can build business cases for future investments and make this industry happen.”

Earlier, Ms Bourne told delegates that her team was working to minimise any hiatus in the transition process to the UK’s new energy future and that it was particularly important ‘for us to get it right on Contracts for Difference (CfD)’, the long-term structure designed to provide stable financial incentives to promote investment in low-carbon electricity generation.

When asked during questions, however, if CfDs might be the end of trading changes for a while for renewables, Ms Bourne replied: “We are conscious of making a lot of changes. Our intention is that EMR will be robust and will be something that can take us forward into the long term. We are aware that in making so many changes we are causing the sector to pause and we don’t want to prolong that.”

Edie Staff

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