There are strong, long term market signals that encourage our continued interest in the UK. However, the case for each and every individual investment decision has to be made and a key underlying factor in those decisions is always the policy and political framework and the associated opportunities and risks.
Below are a number of policy ideas which we think will benefit the consumer, keep the UK on its fossil free path and create the right environment for job creation and inward investment.
I believe that fossil-free technologies coupled with smart regulation driven by market needs will unlock the investment needed to tackle climate change.
The UK is already on a good track. The Climate Change Act, support for low carbon technologies and Government commitment to decarbonizing at least cost to the consumer has made the UK an attractive place for our investment - £3bn since late 2008. With our pipeline of projects we could invest billions in the UK, mainly offshore wind, over the next 10 years and we are actively seeking to expand into other areas. Vattenfall recently launched a business to business retail offering and could grow in other business areas as well.
So what would I like to see in the manifestos next week to support our business?
1. Restate and reinforce the cross-party commitment to the low-carbon transition through the Climate Change Act, support for low carbon (preferably very low carbon!) technologies and future policy like the long-awaited Clean Growth Plan. These ‘big picture direction of travel’ commitments give businesses like ours the confidence to make long-term investments. I’d also like to see the Clean Growth Plan look at how wind and other low carbon technologies can help the transport and heat sectors decarbonize. This kind of collaboration will be crucial in ensuring the UK meets its climate commitments at least cost.
2. Commit to ‘good’ regulation around carbon, environmental standards and air quality, for example continuing the appropriate protection provided by the EU Birds and Habitats Directives once we leave the EU. Such regulations can and should enable investment rather than act as red tape barriers.
3. Support onshore and offshore wind where it is wanted and needed by providing a route to market for these technologies. Onshore wind is the cheapest form of any new electricity generation, and getting cheaper, and auctions are driving spectacular cost reductions for offshore wind. Not only are both essential to decarbonising at the lowest cost to the consumer, but this investment creates UK jobs for tens of thousands of people throughout the supply chain and in export opportunities. Over half of our 200+ UK staff are based outside of the South East and we strive to maximize the UK added value in all our investments.
4. Support continued electricity interconnection with neighbouring countries. Projects like NorthConnect, in which Vattenfall is a partner, will reduce consumer costs, support price stability, security of supply and carbon reduction for consumers.
Vattenfall is a committed partner to the UK for the long term so we look forward to working with all the parties in all parts of the United Kingdom to develop their manifestos and future policy.
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