Angela Knight, CEO of Energy UK has told attendees at the Eurelectric Convention in London that recent EU election results have highlighted changing opinions on the EU that should be reflected in energy policy.
Knight explained that the EU is facing a ‘trilemma’ of “meeting climate change targets, focusing on energy security which gets even more important as we look towards the problems of Ukraine, and affordability”.
She continued: “Right now affordability is at the top of people’s agenda and energy security comes in next…As surveys have shown in this country, the public do favour a move to renewable generation but at the same time, they do not want to pay for it.”
The Energy UK CEO called on the EU to “move away from an emotion driven and expensive agenda”, and to make decisions with “price tags attached”.
Responding to Knight’s claims, REA chief executive Dr Nina Skorupska said: “There’s nothing emotional about the move to renewable energy. Renewables contribute to all three aspects of the energy trilemma. We all know they reduce carbon emissions to limit climate change risks, but they also help reduce our reliance on unstable gas sources too.”
Knight said that she felt many energy companies across Europe are “taking the blame” for rising energy costs “when in fact some are as a result of policy making, taxations, and of the green and social agendas”.
She continued: “Certainly in the UK, what people pay for their electricity and gas is causing them concern. There is always more that a supplier can do to serve their customer well and be clear, cost effective and transparent. Equally, the billions of pounds and billions of Euros that are required to build renewable generation, the back-up that intermittent generation requires, put in place capacity mechanisms, invest in the network and more all add to the customer bill as do those social costs and the inevitable taxation.”
According to the government, the price of supporting renewable generation in the UK cost the average bill payer £37 – 2.6% of the average £1,267 annual fuel bill. Wholesale energy costs make up the largest component of an energy bill accounting for 47% of the average bill, while supplier profits stood at 6%.
Knight’s comments fall on the day that US president Obama revealed a package of measures designed to curb the emissions from America’s coal-fuelled power stations by 30% by 2030. Commenting on the proposals, Obama said: “For the sake of all our kids, we have to do more to reduce carbon emissions. Earlier this month, hundreds of scientist declared that climate change is no longer a distant threat – it has moved into the present. One of the best things we can do for our economy, our health and our environment is to lead the world in producing cleaner, safer energy.”