Another day, another complaint about the carbon floor price. This controversial policy has united an unlikely alliance of green campaigners and heavy industry in opposition.
Greens don’t like it because it benefits the nuclear industry, while manufacturers are disgruntled about having to pay more for electricity.
But Greenpeace and WWF had a legitimate claim that government policy was incoherent – on the one hand promising no subsidies to nuclear power but at the same time implementing a policy that could indeed earn such generators billions of pounds. The EEF, which represents manufacturers, on the other hand, is criticising the energy department for doing exactly what it intends to do: push up the cost of energy.
The chancellor has stopped speaking and the figures are in. But did the experts to whom this blog spoke earlier get what they wanted? Here are their responses.
I wrote below about whether the industry would get what it wanted from Chris Huhne, the energy secretary, in his speech to the Liberal Democrats today. Now his brief but initiative-packed speech is over, did they get what they wanted?
Roger Salomone, energy adviser at EEF, wanted to see reassurances over nuclear power. This is what Huhne said:
I’m fed up with the stand-off between renewable and nuclear which means we have neither – we will have both. We will have low-carbon energy, and security of supply.
And EEF’s reaction:
Given the audience that was a reassuring message on nuclear power from our perspective. He linked nuclear power to some positive things, like energy security and tackling climate change.
Chris Huhne, the UK energy secretary, stands up to speak to the Liberal Democrat party conference this afternoon. But his audience stretches far beyond a convention centre in Liverpool. The energy industry will be watching, and here is what they want to hear:
Roger Salomone, energy adviser at EEF, the manufacturers association – Nuclear power
A strong reassurance that the coalition is going to push the role of nuclear power and build the right kind of business environment for that. If he demonstrated his commitment to nuclear in front of the Lib Dems, who are the most hostile, that would be a very strong signal.
NB – Salomone’s point about resistance from within the party is going to become clear today in a speech by Simon Hughes, the deputy leader, who will urge Huhne to oppose nuclear power, as my colleague Jim Pickard wites here.