The Scottish government joined utilities, charities and churches urging Britain to impose a carbon target on the power industry, the broadest call yet from groups seeking to guide debate on legislation in Parliament.
The U.K.’s lack of a target is risking offshore wind jobs, investment and economic growth, Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said today in a statement. WWF led 35 organizations from SSE Plc (SSE) to Oxfam Feb. 20 asking the U.K. to include the target in an Energy Bill being scrutinized by lawmakers in London.
The comments add pressure to the Conservative-led administration to pass an amendment adding the target to legislation, which is designed to spur 110 billion pounds ($167 billion) of investment in new power generation. Companies including Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS) said the lack of a target would increase the risk of committing to long-term investments.
“The U.K. government must make clear their ongoing support for offshore wind and emulate the Scottish government’s approach by setting a 2030 electricity decarbonization target now,” Ewing said.
Scotland outlined a goal last month to reduce emissions from electricity by more than four-fifths to 50 grams of carbon dioxide a kilowatt-hour.
Ewing also cited findings by Cambridge Econometrics that U.K. gross domestic product will be 20 billion pounds or 0.8 percent higher in 2030 if wind power is deployed rather than natural gas in new power stations.
The bill amendment, backed by lawmakers in the rival Labour and Liberal Democrat parties and some Conservatives, seeks to introduce a target by April 2014. Under current plans, a decision on whether to adopt such a goal won’t be made until 2016, after the deadline for the next election.
The amendment will be debated and voted on when the bill returns to the House of Commons for consideration after being marked up by committees. That’s due to happen in the next few weeks.
“This is exactly the sort of long-term signal that investors are looking for if we want to attract the billions of pounds of investment needed to strengthen the U.K.’s position as an industrial leader in green technologies,” David Nussbaum, chief executive of WWF in the U.K., said in Feb. 20 statement. Dong Energy A/S, Triodos Bank NV and the Methodist Church in Britain were among its other signatories.
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