Updated Dec 2014
Energy & Climate Change
the energy market is broken and it is not providing a good deal for consumers
A root cause of the problem is that the market was not designed to be low or zero carbon, which is necessary to address the challenge of climate change. In addition, the market was not designed to accommodate new technologies, such as renewable and digital technologies.
The failings of the energy market are demonstrated by the lack of competition between energy companies, which has led to bills being higher than necessary.
Britain's cities should be empowered to create cleaner, smarter and more affordable energy systems in their areas, providing an alternative to the big utilities and boosting local economies
The UK needs to reimagine who generates electricity and how. Some renewable energy technologies, such as solar panels, are well suited to generation at the level of community groups and individual households, which is why we support funding to help communities invest in such technologies.
Adopted by Coalition government, Nov 2011
There is no justifiable reason for the 5 per cent profit margins that energy companies enjoy. High and rising energy bills put a squeeze on the living standards of all households and exacerbate the rising problem of fuel poverty.
the government must do more to help billpayers by addressing the problem of rising energy bills through measures such as simplifying energy tariffs
Adopted by Coalition government, Feb 2013
improved Green Deal loans could have a transformative impact on energy bills, by encouraging households to install energy efficiency measures
The current Green Deal is failing because it doesn’t actually reduce people’s bills.
The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) energy efficiency policy is also flawed because 80 per cent of the funds intended for low-income households actually go to households that are not fuel-poor and it extends the dominance of the biggest energy suppliers.
Our proposal is for
Help to Heat, an alternative scheme delivered in local areas, designed to accurately target fuel-poor households through the provision of free energy efficient assessments
Endorsed by Labour, Sep 2014
renewable energy technologies, such as wind power, are demonstrably effective and they have a crucial role to play
In order to ensure energy supply is affordable and secure, we must support a diverse energy mix.
there is an important role for nuclear power and, in the short to medium term, gas in the UK energy mix
While we believe the benefits are likely to be modest, we support fracking for natural gas where there is no local opposition and environmental concerns are addressed.
To support the move to a low-carbon energy mix, it is vital that the government provides long-term clarity and certainty on its energy policies.
As part of this, we believe
a domestic target should be set to decarbonise the energy sector by 2030
This is a cheaper route than doing nothing.
Endorsed by Labour, Nov 2012
Endorsed by the Liberal Democrats, Sep 2014
We also believe that the government needs to provide long-term certainty to the offshore wind industry, if the jobs and growth potential from this industry are to stay in the UK.
Another valuable industrial opportunity lies in low-carbon transport. To ensure that the UK retains its hard-earned competitive advantage in the automotive industry, a thriving market in ultra-low-emission vehicles (ULEVs) is essential.
We argue that
the purchase and use of these vehicles should be actively encouraged – with government taking the lead
Supported by Coalition government, Apr 2014
UK policies on energy and climate change will be more effective if they are developed in cooperation with other European states.
strong and binding new 2030 targets are needed to provide investors and the international community with clarity over the direction of European climate and energy strategy
Partially adopted by the European Commission, Oct 2014
Cooperating on energy markets is a cheaper and more efficient approach than pushing ahead unilaterally.
To sustain a secure supply of energy, it is important to
increase interconnections between the UK and Europe and to support the European common market for energy, which Britain is a part of
Crucially, this must happen in the context of an ambitious international deal on emissions.
A 2030 target of 50% reductions from 1990 levels is in line with the UK government's legal obligation to meet 2050 targets, which are designed to keep global temperature increases under 2 degrees.
As part of this Europe-wide commitment, we propose
reforms to the European carbon trading scheme (the ETS) that ensure carbon is priced appropriately
In terms of the UK's own climate change initiatives, the carbon price floor is an ineffective tool.
the carbon price floor is badly designed and unfeasible in the long term
By continually raising the wholesale cost of high-carbon energy, the price floor places additional burden on the billpayer, rather than effectively incentivising low-carbon forms of generation.
Endorsed by Coalition government, March 2014