Amendment to the Energy Bill designed to stimulate investment in low carbon infrastructure work

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Members of the House of Lords have been urged by industry leaders to back an amendment to the Energy Bill designed to unlock investment in low carbon infrastructure.

The amendment, put forward by Lord Oxburgh, Lord Stern and Baroness Worthington, would force the government to set a target for decarbonising a portion of the UK’s electricity supply by 2030 - earlier than it currently plans to.

The amendment would compel the government to set the target by April 2014 – it currently wants to leave any decision on the target until 2016.

Campaigners have been calling for a target to be set in 2014 to give certainty to developers and the supply chain that low-carbon energy projects, which can take years to develop, will be worth investing in now.

A similar amendment to the bill was defeated in a vote by MPs in June this year.

The letter, sent to all members of the house of Lords, was signed by the heads of seven trade associations including the Renewable Energy Association, the Solar Trade Association and Scottish Renewables.

The letter said a lack of a clear 2030 decarbonisation target was “exacerbating uncertainty amongst investors, supply chain and project developers”.

It added: “Clarity and greater certainty on the longer-term direction of travel for the UK’s energy mix post 2020 is needed to unlock investment and bring forward the diverse range of low carbon technologies crucial for meeting our legally binding climate change targets.

“This is needed to help underpin investment, accelerate cost reductions in the development and deployment of new technologies and support GDP and employment growth across the UK.

 “Although the industries we represent face numerous other policy barriers and issues to overcome, and all of us wish to see timely passage of the Bill, the adoption of a 2030 decarbonisation target in the Energy Bill remains a key factor in providing this certainty.

It said peers should “send a clear signal to government on the issue” and back the amendment to “reduce the political risk” to project developers and financiers.

The amendment will be voted on by the Lords on Monday.