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Long-term thinking can ease uncertainty on low-carbon energy, says CIBSE

The commercial secretary to the Treasury, Lord O’Neill of Gatley, speaking at the launch of the National Infrastructure Delivery Plan 2016-2021, attributed low investor confidence in the UK energy sector to the "staggering volatility" of energy prices rather than uncertainty about Government energy policy. Dr Hywel Davies, Technical Director of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), said:
“While the volatility in the energy sector is certainly not helping matters, we would encourage the Government to listen to industry experts and investors themselves who told the Energy Select Committee that constant tinkering with low-carbon energy policy is one of the largest factors behind the dip in investor confidence in the low-carbon sector.
“CIBSE has warned the Government in the past that inconsistent and contradictory policies are leading to a ‘cliff-edge’ scenario, in which investors feel there is not enough clarity beyond 2020 to safely invest their money in low-carbon energy infrastructure. The UNEP figures show that they are finding plenty of opportunities to invest outside the UK and Europe, and that their appetite for investment is growing fast. 
“This, combined with a confusing and inconsistent approach to delivering low-carbon incentives across the UK means that we risk failing to address the energy trilemma of reducing carbon emissions, enhancing energy security and ensuring that energy is affordable and accessible.
“We recommend that the Government take a more long-term approach to low-carbon and renewable energy policies by ensuring that they are uniformly applied and properly funded without mixed messages, so that investors can have the confidence to deliver this technology and make the UK a renewables-friendly country.”
This concern is further emphasised by the 10th Annual Report on Global Renewable Energy Trends from the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, which reports that 134GW of renewable power was added worldwide last year, compared to 106GW in 2014 and 87GW in 2013, but that investment in Europe fell by 21% to stand at less than a fifth of overall renewable investment worldwide.