Nearly 1,000 senior business leaders in the UK have criticised UK energy policy under consecutive governments, arguing that decisions made at a senior level had resulted in “bizarre outcomes”.
A survey conducted by the Institute of Directors (IoD) revealed their members considered that successive governments – of Labour, coalition and Conservative persuasion – had failed to deliver secure, competitively-priced and decarbonised energy.
While a majority of respondents (59%) considered that energy policy had been successful in increasing the deployment and use of renewables – one of the three central tenets of the energy trilemma – other tenets, comprising security of supply and affordability, had been compromised.
More than 62% of respondents said they disagreed that government policy had been for the good of security of supply, while more than two-thirds (67%) said it had failed to deliver competitively priced energy.
Dan Lewis, senior infrastructure policy adviser at IoD, said that since the early 2000s governments “of all stripes” were guilty of underplaying security and affordability.
Lewis also stressed the importance of a mix of renewables, nuclear and hydrocarbon energy generation.
“Government policy at the moment is creating all sorts of bizarre outcomes. Instead of accelerating moves to safely frack for gas and oil in the UK, we are importing coal and oil from Russia and gas and oil from Norway, with the extra costs and emissions that involves. Instead of building cleaner gas plants to meet demand when renewables can’t, the Government has been subsidising more polluting diesel-fired plants.
“The IoD backs nuclear as a reliable source of low-carbon energy, but each project has to make economic sense. Hinkley Point C would generate reliable power for 5 million homes, but given the costs, the Government is right to take one final look before signing off on the deal,” he said.