U.K. Energy Minister John Hayes rejected a call by fellow Conservative lawmaker Tim Yeo to include a decarbonization target for the power industry in the Energy Bill being debated by Parliament.
Yeo, chairman of Parliament’s Energy and Climate Change Committee advising the government on legislation, said in a Dec. 17 interview that he’ll seek to amend the bill to call for electricity sector emissions to be capped at 100 grams of carbon dioxide a kilowatt-hour by 2030.
“The select committees are there to help us improve legislation, they are not there to govern,” Hayes said today in an interview in “The House” magazine, which is distributed to lawmakers. The government plans to set a target in 2016 rather than now, he said.
The opposing positions lay the ground for a clash as the legislation works its way through Parliament. At a debate on Dec. 19, Labour leader Ed Miliband and the Green Party’s only lawmaker, Caroline Lucas, sought to stall the bill until a decarbonization target is included. Yeo plans to propose an amendment at a later stage in the legislative process.
The bill is designed to stimulate the 110 billion pounds ($178 billion) of investments the government estimates is needed to replace retiring power stations and upgrade the electricity grid by 2020.
In his interview, Hayes also said he:
-Expects the coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to work together on the bill.
-Finds scrapping shale gas exploration in the U.K. would be “peculiar,” even if there’s only a “modest” view of its potential.
-Thinks forcing energy companies to switch consumers from one tariff to another in some cases may be “contentious.”
-Reiterates that decisions on building wind farms and nuclear power stations should take into account the “community benefit” they bring to the local population.