UK electricity market reform paper delayed until late June
A UK government white paper on energy market reform has been delayed, a government spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change confirmed on Thursday. The much-anticipated white paper by UK energy minister Chris Huhne was due to appear in the spring, but is now more likely to be published some time before the UK parliament's summer recess on July 27.
Questioned on a more specific date, the spokesperson would only confirm that the white paper "will not appear in the next couple of weeks", pushing the earliest date for publication to the second half of June.
Last December, the government unveiled its four-pronged plan for reforming the UK energy market (see EDEM 16 December 2010). The white paper follows from a consultation on the four-pronged plan that ended on 10 March. The white paper will impact the UK's ability to realise the £200bn (€230bn) investment required to modernise the country's electricity generation capacity up to 2020 (see EDEM 25 May 2011).
"The devil is in the detail"
The four-pronged approach was attacked as lacking credibility by a number of speakers at ICIS Heren's Electricity Market UK conference on Tuesday.
Michael Pollitt, assistant director of the University of Cambridge's Electricity Policy Research Group, was critical of the UK's unilateral stance for decarbonising the country's economy instead of pushing for a European and global solution (see EDEM 25 May 2011). "It is a recipe for being marginalised," he said.
The part of the plan that drew the most criticism was the issue of an emissions performance standard (EPS).
Pollitt described the EPS as "unnecessarily restrictive", while William Webster of RWE said the company was "not keen on EPS".
Other parts of the plan received mixed responses, but a definitive view on energy market reforms is not possible until the white paper is released, said E.ON's director of regulation and energy policy Sara Vaughan. "The devil is in the detail," she said. FOR
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