Tag Archives: EMR

Green conservatism: move over Big 6, we need the Big 60,000

greg300This post is by the Rt Hon Greg Barker MP, minister of state for energy and climate change. An extract first appeared on The Guardian. The piece is from a forthcoming collection of essays: Green conservatism: protecting the environment through open markets. Similar collections are being published under ‘Green social democracy’ and ‘Green liberalism’ projects as part of Green Alliance’s Green Roots programme, which aims to stimulate green thinking within the three dominant political traditions in the UK.

Choice, competition and a dynamic market are all a recipe for success. When the UK electricity sector was privatised in the 1990s, one vast state run monopoly became a teeming market of fourteen new firms, competing for the business of the British consumer.

Thirteen years of Labour government took a different approach to the electricity market. For my money, we ended up with the worst of both worlds. Competition dried up and the sector drifted away from dynamic pluralism to domination by a small number of big companies. By 2010, just six energy firms controlled over 90 per cent of the UK sector. Read more

The energy bill must provide certainty for investors

A version of this article by Green Alliance director Matthew Spencer first appeared on BusinessGreen.

The energy bill maintains the government’s track record of private enthusiasm and public reticence on its low carbon reform agenda. The Coalition appears to have maintained interdepartmental and cross-party support for electricity market reform, but has missed the opportunity to be clear about its low carbon ambitions. As a result it is losing support for reforms which had widespread acceptance two years ago, and the debate has deteriorated into hand to hand fighting between lobbies for renewables, nuclear and unabated gas.

Officials and ministers have spent two years wrestling with the complexity of the new contracting and institutional arrangements, but the draft bill shows that they do not yet have an answer to the most basic question: ‘What is the bill supposed to deliver, and by when?’ Read more