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Sharma: Energy white paper to 'hopefully' be published in autumn

Image: Getty.

Image: Getty.

Energy secretary Alok Sharma has said the energy white paper will “hopefully” be published this autumn.

During a BEIS Select Committee hearing, Sharma was asked by Alan Brown, MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun, about how he plans to “definitively get back on track to meet net zero in 2050”, with Brown making reference to the lack of progress on the milestones outlined by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

As part of his response, Sharma said that he is aware the energy white paper has "been anticipated for some time" but continued to say that the department "very much hopes" that the white paper "will come out in the autumn”.

The energy white paper has seen numerous delays, having originally been scheduled for publication in summer 2019. It was then announced in October 2019 by then-energy secretary Andrea Leadsom that it would be delayed until Q1 2020.

In February 2020, junior energy minister Lord Duncan confirmed the white paper would be published in “a matter of weeks”, however this was not the case.

The most recent update was in March, when a BEIS spokesperson told Current± the white paper would be published in spring 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sharma’s announcement yesterday (9 June) therefore represents another delay to the publication. This was not the only topic touched upon in the Select Committee hearing, however, with Sharma also giving an update on the five roundtables hosted by BEIS exploring the economic recovery of the UK.

The roundtables focused on topics such as a green recovery, as well as others including the future of industry and backing new businesses.

Sharma said that some of the “key feedback that came out of these” was on “committing to a green recovery” as well as prioritising short term job creation.

We have got some very concrete ideas that have come from these taskforces. That is very much going to help to shape the work we’re doing in government on economic recovery,” he said.

He pointed to the Chancellor's recent announcement of energy efficiency funding as an example of new policy in support of a green recovery.

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