Cornwall Insight comments on the Energy White Paper

Commenting on the government’s release of the Energy White Paper, which sets out plans to decarbonise the UK’s energy system, Gareth Miller, CEO of Cornwall Insight, said:

“The Energy White Paper maps out the biggest change to the energy markets since the Electricity Act of 1989. Many of the headlines will focus on policy for investment, and carbon pricing with plenty in that builds on the 10-point plan and National Infrastructure Strategy. The most high-profile addition is the commitment to reach financial close on at least one more large nuclear project during this Parliament, and the announcement surrounding a UK Emissions Trading Scheme.

“But the White Paper signals a readiness to change the underlying architecture of the sector, including the relationship between the sector and consumers, that really distinguishes it from what has come before. The documents focus on a just distribution of costs of the transition and its consistent thread on whether the system hangs together in a fashion that really works against today’s objectives are as welcome as they are necessary.

“There is a lot of detail to be assimilated before we can really judge if the White Paper has the makings of a coherent strategy, or how it will impact different players across the value chain. We will be setting out our thoughts on this over the next days, weeks and months as the timetable of releases, calls for evidence and consultations unfold. 

“But the government should at least be commended for recognising that going “net zero” demands more than just skin-deep reforms or introductions of new policy levers. By firing the starting gun today, at the end of 2021 once the music of consultations ends, it is possible that we could see a range of new proposals that will really shake-up the traditional structures of the market. One thing is very clear; anyone who thought that a shift to net zero would be by incremental change may have to redefine their perspective.”