Vince Cable: let’s be honest, green energy is expensive

May 1, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Dr Cable said there was “real tension” between sticking to the
course of attracting green investment and “the short-term pressures of

“The energy sector is extremely complex and we are interested in multiple
objectives. That is part of the difficulty here,” he said.

Investment in new power plants was needed to prevent “serious security of
supply problems” and that investment had to be environmentally-friendly
because of climate change. “So we have to have greener energy and we
know at least in the short term that’s relatively expensive,” he

At the same time, consumer living standards were being squeezed after the
economic crisis, affecting both domestic consumers and heavy industries such
as steel.

“The consumer isn’t just a little old lady in flat, worrying about her
gas and electricity prices, it’s complex set of purchasers. Satisfying all
of them at a time when also trying to get in more investment and more green
investment is a horrendously difficult problem,” he said.

“So I dont pretend for a moment this is an easy issue, theres no point
really just berating the energy industry and saying you’ve got to get all
these things right because it’s impossible.”

Dr Cable also dismissed fears that the lights would go out, saying it was just
an argument used by industry to try to “frighten the public into
realising you have got to have investment and there are consequences if you
don’t have it”.

He said that the crisis scenario would be averted by importing more gas and

The business secretary also said that a competition inquiry into the energy
sector, preliminarily called for by Ofgem in March, was overdue but would
not fix low trust.

“It’s a pity this didn’t happen years ago; it would at least have cleared
up some of the suspicions that there was some kind of price-rigging in the
industry,” he said.

“It needs a proper investigation as to whether there is real competition.
I suspect at the end of it, it won’t actually deliver trust; all it will do
is deliver an answer to one dimension of it, which is whether it will
deliver effective competition.”

Edelman’s “trust barometer” research found that public trust in the
energy sector had fallen to 31pc, lower than anywhere else globally and
rating it below the banks as the least trusted industry.

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