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The Big Energy Debate – is it helping and how does MLEI fit in?

November 11, 2013

You cannot fail to have noticed that energy is big in the news at the moment!
The media coverage has revolved around two main areas:

The big six energy companies – their profits, delivery obligations and contested claims about these – and the rising cost of energy for their customers
and,
Blackouts – our resilience (or lack of) to peaks in energy demand and what we should do about it – be that through new nuclear and other sources of energy on home ground, or increased reliance on imported energy and the risks that entails.

The debate rages with politicians challenging the energy companies over recent price hikes, and energy companies applying pressure on government over green levies. In the meantime there is no clear consensus on the question of how our energy needs are to be met, and the role of small scale low carbon energy in the broader energy mix. Government may have given the go-ahead to the UK’s first nuclear power station in a generation but it will be 10 years before Hinkley is helping power the country and the guaranteed minimum price will be double today’s price.

It’s possible that the confusion this creates, risks undermining future investment in low carbon energy infrastructure.

Having said that the Renewable Energy Association has recently reported increased signs of confidence in the renewable energy market, and renewables enjoy higher levels of public support than any other energy generation technology.

There are some positives to share from a local perspective too:

Projects like MLEI are poised to help ensure that Cambridgeshire can benefit from a higher proportion of its energy mix coming from renewable sources – that is low carbon sources that do not rely on imports, and have the added benefit of supporting local low carbon related businesses (installers etc.) In fact according to the Treasury, investment in energy has greatest potential in terms of scale and dispersal across the country, than any other sector.

MLEI delivery will also create the opportunity for more community based schemes, whereby heat and electricity can be provided and even sold directly to customers and as a result costs can be kept low.

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One Comment
  1. See the next post due imminently for more about community benefits and how communities can get involved in MLEI.

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