BEAMA responds to BEIS Select Committee Inquiry on finance and investment in the UK’s future energy infrastructure

04 Apr 2019

BEAMA members have welcomed the opportunity to respond to this inquiry which has come at a critical time in the development and transition of the UK’s energy infrastructure. Prompted by the decision by Toshiba and Hitachi to withdraw from the nuclear projects in Wylfa and Moorside and the need to now bridge the ‘nuclear gap’, this inquiry has opened up cross industry debate on how to ramp up investment in the renewables and low carbon technology sector which is currently experiencing a decline in investment. 

Regardless of the ‘nuclear gap’ UK Government need to facilitate increased investment in renewables and the technologies to enable flexibility across the energy system, without such investment the system will struggle to deal with growing electricity demand and to decarbonise.

The nature of the grid and the way that people access electricity is changing fundamentally, driven by digital transformation and a trend towards prosumers taking control of their energy choices by generating and trading their own electricity. Developing the system’s capability for flexibility through technologies such as storage will be key, decarbonising the system and tackling the volatility that stems from increased levels of renewable energy generation. However, the current regulatory and investment landscape for this market is unlikely to allow the level of uptake needed to bridge the nuclear gap and adequately decarbonise.

While Government ambition and rhetoric has in recent years supported the move to develop renewable energy and flexible solutions in the UK market,  and our members have followed to bring products to market in the UK as a result of this, the level of investment in the sector is reducing and it is becoming increasingly difficult for our members to gain investment and launch projects in the UK. Much of the fallback in investment can be linked to policy and regulatory decisions. We therefore believe UK Government are in a vital position to remedy the problems the industry face and help develop a prosperous renewables and low carbon technology sector in the UK, advancing trade opportunities in a post Brexit world.

BEAMA are calling for a more detailed plan to outline the future market design principles and mechanisms in the market for a flexible low carbon energy system. Regulatory change needs to take place in alignment ensuring clarity for investors. The withdrawal of investment in nuclear also implicates planned investment in key transmission and distribution links and therefore we need to see a clear grid investment plan aligned with Government ambition for our low carbon future.