The UK Government has again failed to publish the Energy White Paper, pushing back the deadline again.
With the start of December, autumn has officially come to an end, but the long awaited energy roadmap is yet to materialise.
Speaking to Current± today, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) stated that the White Power will be published by the end of the year.
The White Paper was originally due to be released in the summer of 2019, but was pushed back to Q1 2020 by then-energy secretary Andrea Leadsom. In February 2020, junior energy minister Lord Duncan told the House of Lords that the paper was only “a matter of weeks” away from publication.
When it failed to be released, a BEIS spokesperson told Current± that despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the white paper would be published in spring of 2020.
The spring deadline became autumn, with energy secretary Alok Sharma stating it would “hopefully” be published by the end of November, a message reiterated by Kwasi Kwarteng, minister for business, energy and clean growth, later on.
In response to a question tabled by Liz Saville Roberts – the Plaid Cymru MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd in September, Kwarteng wrote: “The energy white paper is a priority and it will be published this autumn.”
Bloomberg reported that it had again been pushed back, so that it could be published after the Treasury’s spending review on 25 November. In response to this suggestion, a BEIS spokesperson reiterated to Current± the government’s intention to release the white paper in the autumn.
The Spending Review was delivered by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, stating the Government’s plan for "setting the direction" for green energy. While the review itself provided little additional information – apart from announcing £4.3 million investment for a new Offshore Wind Enabling Actions Programme – it was accompanied by a National Infrastructure Strategy that detailed 'ambitious' energy commitments.
These included the creation of a UK infrastructure bank, a ramping up of electric vehicle policy and funding for hydrogen and carbon capture and storage, and was broadly welcomed by the energy sector, however calls for the release of the White Paper have continued.