Ed Davey has a lengthy piece on Politics Home today defending his Energy Bill against a series of criticisms over the summer.
It is positive that the Secretary of State has taken head on critiques from the right that his policy is too statist and from the left that it amounts to nothing more than a nuclear subsidy.
Left Foot Forward will have more analysis later today on the substance of his op ed but one notable ommission is a failure to even refer to the case for a 2030 decarbonisation target for the power sector. This has been one of the key demands of the manufacturing firms and environmental groups alike.
It was among the recommendations in the energy and climate change select committee’s scathing pre-legislative scrutiny report in July, which said:
“It is right to prioritise the decarbonisation of the electricity system because this is likely to deliver the most cost effective route to meeting our 2050 climate change targets. Although statutory carbon reduction targets are set out in the Climate Change Act 2008, these are economy wide, rather than sector specific.
“We conclude that providing greater clarity about the contribution that the power sector is expected to make towards meeting these targets would help to provide certainty to investors. The Government should set a 2030 carbon intensity target for the electricity sector in secondary legislation based on the recommendation of the Committee on Climate Change.”
The criticism had appeared to ignite a rethink in Lib Dem circles with Chief Secretary, Danny Alexander, proposing a motion to Lib Dem conference calling for the coalition to:
“Stimulate green growth in the economy and create framework where there is greater certainty and confidence among businesses to invest in renewable energy, including by… establishing a target range of 50–100g of CO2 per kwh for the decarbonisation of power sector by 2030 in addition to existing carbon emission reductions.”
Davey’s op ed fails even to refer to this motion. Have the Lib Dems already caved on this critical policy?