News analysis: govt energy policy vital for local net-zero carbon schemes

Strong central government energy policy is critical to secure vital local net-zero carbon schemes.

Energy sector leaders have urged government to commit to strong centralised policy on localised energy and heating schemes as a key route to both securing future private sector investment and meeting net-zero emissions targets.

Speaking at a recent breakfast discussion organised by Amey Investments, representatives from both public and private sector energy stakeholders added that such a centralised approach to energy policy was vital to encourage and support the locally delivered energy and heating schemes needed to underpin a low carbon future for the UK. 

The meeting discussed issues surrounding “Net zero emissions by 2050: National ambition – local challenges,” Amey Investments’ White Paper report, and looked at the implication for local heat and energy investment following the UK government’s decision in June to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, up from the previous target of at least and 80% reduction over 1990 levels.

The discussion was led by Asif Ghafoor, managing director of Amey Investments, who, with his team has been directing a wider conversation this year about the introduction of new technologies in infrastructure in a connected way focusing on mobility, energy and telecoms infrastructure with a series of seminars, roundtables and white papers. The output from the latest meeting on energy will inform the next white paper due out in early 2020.

As part of a wide-ranging conversation on local challenges, energy sector leaders highlighted the absence of strong guidance about the government’s preferred long-term technologies and systems that are considered best positioned to achieve the net-zero carbon targets. This, they concluded, was leading to a disparate approach to energy policy by local authorities and so confusion in the investment market over which schemes to back. 

“There are existing and new technologies in the market today and we need to split those out in the sustainable energy conversation,” said Ghafoor. “As an investor, it would be useful to have a selection of technologies to pick from that have the commitment of government. This would also help our local authority clients feel more confident in deciding what technologies they should pursue to further their energy efficiency goals.”

Amey Investments will publish their White Paper report “Net zero emissions by 2050: National ambition – local challenges” into the local energy funding challenge in the new year as the second in a series of reports into the future of infrastructure funding in the UK. White Paper no. 1 on mobility is due to be launched this month.