Skip to main content

Committee explore finance and investment in UK's future energy infrastructure

28 February 2019

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has today launched an inquiry to examine the outlook for future investment in energy infrastructure in the UK. The Committee will be looking at whether the Government needs a new approach to bring forward investment to deliver a low carbon, low cost energy system and secure energy supplies for the long term.

Purpose of the inquiry

The Committee's inquiry is launched in the wake of recent decisions by Hitachi and Toshiba to halt new nuclear projects at Wylfa and Moorside and concerns over how the UK's ‘nuclear gap' for low carbon electricity can be filled. The inquiry will examine the challenges to raising finance in clean energy technologies such as renewables and storage. As part of its look at the Government's approach to attracting investment in energy, it is also likely to look at the potential future financing of nuclear power, and concerns around foreign investors in this technology.

Chair's comments

Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee said:

"In the wake of investment decisions over nuclear plants at sites such as Moorside and Wylfa, a giant hole has developed in UK energy policy. With coal due to go off-line, and the prospects for nuclear looking unclear, the Government needs to set out how it will create the right framework to encourage the investment needed to plug the gap. In this inquiry, we want to examine the Government's approach to creating the right conditions for investment to deliver the secure energy capacity to meet the nation's needs. A bigger shift in our energy infrastructure to a low cost, low carbon energy system is necessary. As a Committee, we will want to consider what more the Government needs to do to attract greater investment into financing future energy capacity, including renewables."

Send in your views

Evidence is invited on potential investment across the energy sector, including power plants, system flexibility, and heat decarbonisation.

The Committee is inviting written submissions on the following points:

  • How do recent investment decisions on nuclear and trends in low carbon investment affect the UK investment outlook for energy infrastructure?  Is there a case for changing the Government's current approach to delivering a low cost, low carbon energy system? How could the ‘nuclear gap' be filled?
  • How attractive is the UK energy sector for investment compared to other countries?   Are there particular technologies which are more – or less – attractive to investors under current arrangements?
  • How has Government policy improved the UK energy investment environment over the last three years? 
  • What types of investor can we expect to finance future UK energy infrastructure? What are their criteria for investment, including on risks and returns?  Does it matter if investors for specific technologies are largely from overseas?
  • What role should the Government play in providing financial support and sharing risks for new energy infrastructure?  Are existing financing mechanisms, notably the Contracts for Difference, fit for purpose? Are there any practical issues, or potential unintended consequences, that could affect the feasibility of implementing alternative support models (such as a Regulated Asset Base)?
  • What further steps should the Government take to increase investor confidence in the UK energy sector? 

The deadline for written submissions is 3 April 2019.

Further information

Image: iStockphoto