Energy manifesto review

Syntegra energy sector manifesto review

Energy costs and regulation plus attitudes to climate change and renewables feature in all the main political party manifestos for this week’s election.

Here we offer Syntegra’s unbiased review of some of the key themes relating to this policy area plus a selection of comments from the Parties around their pledges should they form the next Government on Friday.

Impact of Brexit on Energy Policy

Conservatives: Protections given to consumers and the environment by EU law will continue to be available in UK law at the point at which we leave the EU.

Labour: Ensure there is no detrimental change to…environmental protections as a result of Brexit.

Liberal Democrats: The European Union has created the highest environmental standards in the world. We have a duty to future generations to protect our environment and tackle climate change. Liberal Democrats will ensure that everything is done to maintain those high standards in UK law, including the closest possible co-operation on climate and energy policy.

SNP: Will work to prevent the threat of Brexit being used by the UK to reduce commitments to tackle climate change or to undermine the European Union’s efforts to fight climate change and protect the environment

Plaid Cymru: We will ensure that we build upon the standards set by the EU which have protected our environment.

Green: Ensure that existing environmental laws are retained, or enhanced, no matter our future relationship with the European Union.

UKIP: Ensure that existing environmental laws are retained, or enhanced, no matter our future relationship with the European Union.

Climate change

Conservatives: We will continue to take a lead in global action against climate change, as the government demonstrated by ratifying the Paris Agreement…[The UK is] at the forefront of action against global climate change.

An independent review into the Cost of Energy, which will be asked to make recommendations as to how we can ensure UK energy costs are as low as possible, while ensuring a reliable supply and allowing us to meet our 2050 carbon reduction objective…We were the first country to introduce a Climate Change Act, which Conservatives helped to frame, and we are halfway towards meeting our 2050 goal of reducing emissions by eighty per cent from 1990 levels.

Labour: We will reclaim Britain’s leading role in tackling climate change, working hard to preserve the Paris Agreement and deliver on international commitments to reduce emissions while mitigating the impacts of climate change on developing countries.

A Labour Government will put us back on track to meet the targets in the Climate Change Act and the Paris Agreement.

Liberal Democrats: To put the protection of the environment at the heart of policies across all areas of government, we will establish a Cabinet Committee on Sustainability, chaired by a cabinet minister, establish an Office for Environmental Responsibility to scrutinise the government’s efforts to meet its environmental targets, and place a responsibility on every government agency to account for its contribution towards meeting climate targets in everything it does.

We will support the Paris agreement by ensuring the UK meets its own climate commitments and plays a leadership role in international efforts to combat climate change. We will pass five green laws: a Green Transport Act, a Zero-Carbon Britain Act, a Nature Act, a Green Buildings Act, and a Zero-Waste Act to incorporate existing EU environmental protections, maintain product standards such as for energy efficiency, and establish a framework for continual improvement.

SNP: We will fight climate change, while keeping energy bills down and creating jobs, by continuing to champion low cost renewable energy.

Scotland has already exceeded a world-leading target to reduce emissions by 42 per cent by 2020. The Scottish Government has now produced a draft Climate Change Plan, with tougher targets for future years, ensuring Scotland continues to set an example for other countries to follow. SNP MPs will press the UK government to match Scotland’s commitment and ambition.

Plaid Cymru: The British government is neglecting its international duty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, endangering our children’s future. As we leave the EU there is a risk that this threat will become greater.

Plaid Cymru will introduce a new Climate Change Act, adopting ambitious but achievable greenhouse gas and pollution reduction targets for 2030 and 2050.

Green: With 2016 the hottest year on record, and a climate-denier in the White House, the need for bold and dynamic action on climate change has never been more urgent…Even if we cut global emissions to zero today, the effects of climate change will be felt for generations.

The Green Party will breathe life back into the Climate Change Act by investing in an energy system fit for the 21st century.

 

UKIP: UKIP has a clear commitment to secure, affordable energy for everyone. We will repeal the 2008 Climate Change Act, the most expensive piece of legislation in history, and support a diverse energy market based on coal, nuclear, shale gas, conventional gas, oil, solar and hydro, as well as other renewables when they can be delivered at competitive prices… This Act has no basis in science, and its aim of cutting greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050 is unachievable…While our major global competitors in the USA, China and India are switching to low-cost fossil fuels, this Act forces us to close perfectly good coal-fired power stations to meet unattainable targets for renewable capacity. If we carry on like this, the lights are likely to go out.

Energy bills/efficiency

Conservatives: Conservatives will deliver…Competitive and affordable energy costs following a new independent review into the cost of energy…We will ensure industry and businesses have access to reliable, cheap and clean power…We want to make sure that the cost of energy in Britain is internationally competitive, both for businesses and households…Our ambition is that the UK should have the lowest energy costs in Europe, both for households and businesses.

We will therefore commission an independent review into the Cost of Energy, which will be asked to make recommendations as to how we can ensure UK energy costs are as low as possible, while ensuring a reliable supply and allowing us to meet our 2050 carbon reduction objective…We will introduce a safeguard tariff cap that will extend the price protection currently in place for some vulnerable customers to more customers on the poorest value tariffs.

For British companies, an energy-efficient business is a more competitive business, we will establish an industrial energy efficiency scheme to help large companies install measures to cut their energy use and their bills…We will help [individuals] to save energy. An energy efficient home is a more affordable and healthy home. We will improve the energy efficiency of existing homes, especially for the least well off, by committing to upgrading all fuel poor homes to EPC Band C by 2030

Labour: The UK energy system is outdated, expensive and polluting. Privatisation has failed to deliver an energy system that delivers for people, businesses or our environment.

Introduce an immediate emergency price cap to ensure that the average dual fuel household energy bill remains below £1,000 per year, while we transition to a fairer system for bill payers.

Labour will insulate four million homes as an infrastructure priority…This will cut emissions, improve health, save on bills and reduce fuel poverty and winter deaths. Homeowners will be offered interest-free loans to improve their property. For renters, Labour will improve on existing Landlord Energy Efficiency regulations and re-establish the Landlord Energy Saving Allowance to encourage the uptake of efficiency measures.

Liberal Democrats: Liberal Democrats will expand renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions, cutting dependence on fossil fuel imports and generating more jobs and prosperity.

Liberal Democrats will reduce energy bills permanently by improving home insulation and encouraging small-scale, community and local-authority renewable schemes. We will withdraw eligibility for the Winter Fuel Payment from pensioners who pay tax at the higher rate (40%).

We will make saving energy a top infrastructure priority, slashing energy bills and carbon emissions, creating thousands of jobs and helping end the fuel poverty crisis once and for all. We will pass a new Green Buildings Act to set new energy-efficiency targets, including a long-term ambition for every home in England to reach at least an energy rating of Band C by 2035; ensure that at least four million homes are made highly energy efficient (Band C) by 2022, with priority given to fuel-poor households…We will ensure that half a million affordable, energy-efficient homes are built by the end of the parliament.

SNP: Successive Westminster governments have cost consumers billions of pounds by failing to make the energy market work for families. The time for change is long overdue.

We want bills reduced and fairness and transparency in the system. SNP MPs will press the UK government to: put in place an energy price cap on standard variable tariffs, ensuring a fair deal for customers and energy suppliers; introduce a new duty to be placed on energy companies to set out a clear timetable to reduce the number of people on prepayment meters; immediately implement the Competition and Markets Authority’s recommendations on metering to reduce costs for households; put in place a requirement for energy companies to prioritise the roll-out of smart meters to those households at risk of fuel poverty; introduce financial health checks to help people switch to the lowest tariffs and provide advice on reducing energy use; and take new action, alongside Ofgem, to identify those at risk from fuel poverty, with new legislation to ensure these groups are on the lowest energy tariff possible starting with those eligible for the Cold Weather Payment…Consumers in the UK pay some of the highest prices for petrol and diesel in Europe. The SNP will call for the introduction of a fuel duty regulator which delivers more stability to the cost of filling up your car.

In government we have made energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority, and we will support it with more than £500 million of public funding over four years.

Plaid Cymru: Our environment is being eroded whilst our natural resources are being used for the benefit of others. Our energy bills are needlessly high despite us being an exporter of electricity and our housing stock is outdated and inefficient. If we carry on with business as usual, none of this will change. Wales needs Plaid Cymru to make Wales greener.

We will create a Welsh energy company, to use profit from Welsh resources to cut the cost of energy for Welsh consumers and shifting to decentralised and distributed networks. … We believe it is necessary to introduce a fuel duty regulator to stop rising fuel costs.

Plaid Cymru will roll out a nationwide scheme to make our housing stock more energy efficient. We will secure compensation for those who have suffered from badly installed, government- backed cavity wall insulation.

Green: Our energy system is broken and is not delivering what households and businesses need. Captured by corporate profit, ripping us off, and fuelled by dirty energy that belongs in the past, it is failing us both as customers and as citizens. We need to harness the dramatically falling costs of renewable energy and seize the opportunity to both tackle climate change and take back control of our energy system…Bring energy, water, railways, buses, the Royal Mail and care work back into public ownership to give communities real control of the public services that has been lost over the past 30 years.

Introduce progressive energy tariffs so that small consumers pay less per unit than large ones, special needs are recognised, people are not cut off when they can’t afford to pay, and nobody is forced to have pre-payment meters.

Embark upon a national programme of insulation and retrofitting to make every home warm – bringing two million people out of fuel poverty, insulating nine million homes, and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs across the UK.

UKIP: Energy policies pursued by Labour and the Tories are arguably increasing global emissions and causing Britain to lose jobs and investment. They have created a lose-lose situation, but only UKIP is awake to the problem.

In addition to removing VAT from domestic fuel and scrapping ‘green’ levies to reduce household bills by an average of £170, we will review the ownership and profits of British utilities and the impact on consumers of steadily rising prices. We will not hesitate to table legislation to address any excesses we uncover.

UKIP is the only party being realistic about what can be done to increase the housing supply and putting forward a viable solution: a bold policy to roll out high quality, low cost factorybuilt modular (FBM) homes, affordable on the national average wage of £26,000…Factory-built homes should not be confused with the pre-fabs of the past. They are built to last, to high design standards, and are energy efficient, with running costs up to 30per cent less than traditional homes.

Renewables

Conservatives: We want to see a diverse range of sources for Britain’s energy production, because a diverse energy economy is the best way to stimulate innovation, and also to ensure that we are getting the right generation in the right place. For instance, while we do not believe that more large-scale onshore wind power is right for England, we will maintain our position as a global leader in offshore wind and support the development of wind projects in the remote islands of Scotland, where they will directly benefit local communities…[We will] explore ways to harness Welsh natural resources for the generation of power.

Labour: Ensure that 60% of the UK’s energy comes from zero-carbon or renewable sources by 2030…Take energy back into public ownership to deliver renewable energy…

Liberal Democrats: We will expand renewable energy, aiming to generate 60% of electricity from renewables by 2030, restoring government support for solar PV and onshore wind in appropriate locations (helping meet climate targets at least cost) and building more electricity interconnectors to underpin this higher reliance on renewables.

SNP: Renewable energy is a Scottish success story. We are determined to build on that success…Scotland has a wealth of onshore and offshore renewable energy potential which, if unlocked, can support thousands more jobs and further economic growth. However, this has been undermined by the UK government’s ideologically-driven cuts to support for renewables. SNP MPs will work to ensure low cost green energy schemes get the long term certainty needed to support further development and reductions in cost. SNP MPs will press the Westminster government to include onshore wind, the lowest cost renewable energy technology, in its industrial strategy. They will also demand an increased focus on offshore wind, tidal energy and wave power. Our MPs will support the development of wind and other renewable energy projects in the Northern and Western Isles – and a clear timescale for the delivery of the electricity interconnectors needed in the islands.

Plaid Cymru: Wales [can be] self-sufficient in electricity from renewables and powering ahead with world-leading tidal energy technology… Plaid Cymru MPs, along with representatives in the Welsh Assembly, have spearheaded campaigns for 100% of our electricity to be generated by renewables by 2035.

Green: End the effective ban on onshore wind – the cheapest form of new electricity generation – and introducing new support for onshore wind and solar-photovoltaics; scaling up investment in offshore wind and marine renewables.

UKIP: UKIP will remove VAT from domestic energy bills and scrap the green levies currently added to our bills to subsidise renewable energy schemes.

Zero-Carbon homes

Conservatives: We will review energy efficiency requirements on new homes.

Labour: We will consult on …modern standards for building ‘zero carbon homes’.

Liberal Democrats: We will restore the zero-carbon standard for new homes which was set by Liberal Democrats in government and since abandoned by the Conservatives, increasing the standard steadily and extending it to non-domestic buildings by 2022…We will pass a Zero-Carbon Britain Act to set new legally binding targets to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2040 and to zero by 2050…We will create at least 10 new garden cities in England, providing tens of thousands of high-quality, zero-carbon homes, with gardens and shared green space, jobs, schools and public transport.

Green: We will ensure that all new homes are built to zero-carbon standards by 2020.

Fossil fuels

Conservatives: We will continue to support the [North Sea oil and gas] industry and build on the unprecedented support already provided to the oil and gas sector…There are very significant reserves still in the North Sea.

Labour: Fracking…would lock us into an energy infrastructure based on fossil fuels.

Liberal Democrats: We will provide assistance to areas heavily dependent on fossil fuel industries, such as the north-east of Scotland, to diversify away from these industries.

SNP: Our oil and gas industry can have a bright future.

Plaid Cymru: We are far too reliant on fossil fuels, that are becoming scarcer, guaranteeing rising energy bills for households.

Green: Keep fossil fuels where they belong: in the ground.

UKIP: While our major global competitors in the USA, China and India are switching to low-cost fossil fuels, this [climate change] Act forces us to close perfectly good coal-fired power stations to meet unattainable targets for renewable capacity.

 

Industrial strategy

Conservatives: We will develop our ambitious modern industrial strategy to get the economy working for everyone, across the whole of our nation…We will spend more on research and development, to turn brilliant discoveries into practical products and transform the world’s industries – such as the batteries that will power a new generation of clean, efficient, electric vehicles…A successful industrial strategy requires competitive and affordable energy costs.

Labour: Labour will bring forward an integrated trade and industrial strategy that boosts exports, investment and decent jobs in Britain…Labour will position the UK at the forefront of the development, manufacture and use of ultra low emission vehicles, supporting the creation of clean modes of transport through investment in low emission vehicles.

Liberal Democrats: We will build on the Coalition’s industrial strategy, working with sectors which are critical to Britain’s ability to trade internationally, creating more ‘catapult’ innovation and technology centres and backing private investment in particular in green innovation.

SNP: The UK government’s Draft Industrial Strategy doesn’t deliver for our manufacturing industries. The SNP will work with partners to deliver a strategy that takes account of Scotland’s economic challenges. Additionally, there should be clear guidance and a mandate for the Small Business Commissioner to play a role in delivering the Industrial Strategy.

Green economy

Conservatives: We will spend more on research and development, to turn brilliant discoveries into practical products and transform the world’s industries – such as the batteries that will power a new generation of clean, efficient, electric vehicles.

Labour: Building a clean economy of the future is the most important thing we must do for our children, our grandchildren and future generations…Renewable energy projects…can help create manufacturing and energy jobs.

Liberal Democrats: We will work to support growth now and put in place a sustainable economy that will create growth for the future – an economy that works for the long term: prosperous, green, open and fair…We will reform fiduciary duty and company purpose rules to ensure that other considerations, such as…environmental standards…can be fully included in decisions made by directors and fund managers…We will reform the Regulatory Policy Committee to remove unnecessary regulation, reduce regulatory uncertainty, and support new markets and investment, particularly in low-carbon and resource-efficient innovation…We will develop a national skills strategy for key sectors, including low-carbon technologies, to help match skills and people.

SNP: Scotland has a wealth of onshore and offshore renewable energy potential which, if unlocked, can support thousands more jobs and further economic growth.

Green: The UK must lead the world in building a green economy and investing in a viable future – one that respects and nurtures the natural systems on which we depend.

Transport

Conservatives: Our ambition is for Britain to lead the world in electric vehicle technology and use. We want almost every car and van to be zero-emission by 2050 – and will invest £600 million by 2020 to help achieve it. We will invest in more low-emission buses, as well as supporting audio-visual displays for bus passengers and community minibuses for rural areas poorly served by public transport…We will focus on creating extra capacity on the railways…We will continue to support local authorities to expand cycle networks and upgrade facilities for cyclists at railway stations.

Labour: Labour will invest in a modern, integrated, accessible transport system that is reliable and affordable…Our plans…will encourage and enable people to get out of their cars, for better health and a cleaner environment…We reaffirm the commitments in the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.

Liberal Democrats: The Liberal Democrats will pass a Green Transport Act…and support the manufacture of low-emission and electric vehicles, generating jobs and exports…We will also reform vehicle taxation to encourage sales of electric and low-emission vehicles and develop electric vehicle infrastructure including universal charging points. We will…promote city-scale demonstration projects in electric vehicles and clean energy…We will pursue the electrification of the rail network, improve stations, reopen smaller stations…We will shift more freight from road to rail…We will design towns and cities as safe and attractive walking spaces and implement the recommendations of the Get Britain Cycling report.

SNP: We are committed to improving standards for rail users…Connecting Scotland to HS2 must be a priority, with construction beginning in Scotland as well as England, and a high speed connection between Glasgow, Edinburgh and the north of England as part of any high-speed rail network…We are transforming Scotland’s road network [and] upgrading Scotland’s motorways.

Plaid Cymru: Establish a national electric vehicle charging network…Our public transport system is not fit for purpose…We will introduce a £7.5 billion investment programme to fund vital infrastructure projects throughout Wales…Plaid Cymru wants to see a real Wales-wide transport system…We will also ensure that walking and cycling is integrated with bus and rail services.

Green: Significant investment in vehicle electrification and charging infrastructure…Promote cycling and walking through a £2bn programme of investment in healthy, active transport.

UKIP: UKIP will improve our existing transport infrastructure instead of investing in vanity projects such as HS2 and the environmentally destructive third runway at Heathrow. Britain’s prosperity depends upon an operational road system and reliable public…Air Passenger Duty has risen rapidly since its introduction in 1994. This is a tax on holidays as well as an additional cost to business. We will freeze APD at current levels and, when possible in future, seek to reduce it with the long-term objective of scrapping it completely. transport networks.

Diesel vehicles

Conservatives: No mention

Labour: We will retrofit thousands of diesel buses in areas with the most severe air quality problems to Euro 6 standards.

Liberal Democrats: [The Liberal Democrat Air Quality Plan plan] will include a diesel scrappage scheme, and a ban on the sale of diesel cars and small vans in the UK by 2025; extending ultra-low-emission zones to 10 more towns and cities; all private hire vehicles and diesel buses licensed to operate in urban areas to run on ultra-low-emission or zero-emission fuels within five years.

Green: Remove diesel cars from our roads – including an increase in Vehicle Excise Duty on new diesel vehicles, and a scrappage scheme.

UKIP: In the 1990s, the EU and our government promoted diesel vehicles, claiming they were more environmentally friendly because they produced less carbon dioxide. Incentives such as higher taxes on petrol and cuts to Vehicle Excise Duty for diesel cars worked and diesel car ownership shot up. The ‘experts,’ however, have changed their advice. Policy has now U-turned. Punitive taxes are being slapped on diesel cars and there are calls to ban them from city centres. A scrappage scheme giving diesel car owners up to £2,000 to get rid of their vehicles has also been introduced, and UKIP supports this; however, we will combine it with an incentive scheme encouraging drivers to exchange their vehicles for electric or hybrid models. UKIP will prevent diesel drivers from being penalised through higher taxes, parking fees, or emissions’ zone charging. People bought their vehicles in good faith on government advice. Milking them now for money that simply goes into the Treasury is unacceptable.