Energy and Climate Change Committee launches autumn inquiries
16 September 2015
During the summer, the Energy and Climate Change Committee asked stakeholders their views on what areas of DECC's policy-making required particular scrutiny. The consultation, ECC priorities for holding Government to account, drew nearly 250 responses across all sectors and stakeholder groups, for which we are very grateful.
These priority areas were further discussed at a stakeholder forum in Westminster on 8 September 2015. Members of the Committee and stakeholders gathered around tables to discuss potential areas of scrutiny, help prioritise urgent issues, and inform the longer-term strategic approach of the Committee.
The discussions were wide-ranging, with lively and well-informed debates around each table to discuss potential priorities. The forum drew the Committee's attention to many topics, and certain key and cross-cutting themes emerged particularly strongly.
We have listened to your views and are now launching our first set of inquiries. Our immediate scrutiny priorities will be:
- Investor confidence in the UK energy sector. Stakeholders called for greater coherence, transparency, consistency and evidence in the policies coming from DECC. As a result, the Committee is now seeking views on the energy investment landscape in the UK and steps that DECC could take to increase investor confidence;
- Home energy efficiency and demand reduction. With the recent closing of the Green Deal, and the Energy Company Obligation due to come to an end, getting the next policies right will be crucial to address an area that many felt was not well represented in DECC's thinking. In the first instance, the Committee is looking to gather lessons learnt from previous schemes. The evidence received will feed into our scrutiny of energy efficiency policies over the course of this Parliament and we may seek further written submissions as DECC's policy in this area evolves over the coming months.
- Low carbon network infrastructure. Most important energy policy considerations will be difficult to deliver without an effective energy infrastructure. The Committee will therefore be gathering evidence on the limitations of the current electricity network, and how it can be improved to address the challenges of today and tomorrow.
In addition to these three inquiries, the Committee will also look into concerns about capacity margins for gas and electricity this winter through a one-off session on UK security of supply.
We will also be paying close attention to the upcoming climate change negotiations in Paris at COP21. Following the negotiations, we will question the Secretary of State on the outcomes of COP21, and on DECC's plans for implementing a deal in Paris.
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