A decision from the European Court of Justice has brought to a crashing halt a UK Government scheme which has already paid out £5.6bn. The money has gone almost entirely to those in business to sell electricity, ostensibly to ensure the lights stay on in winter.
Even so, business secretary Greg Clark immediately retorted there would no danger of black-outs, even if no further payments could be made under the scheme – thus rather undermining its entire rationale.
For years those anxious to help companies reduce energy wastage have fought a hitherto losing battle with UK energy policy makers, who seem perpetually to favour those in business to encourage energy consumption. The latest example is this Capacity Market scheme, which the ECJ has outlawed precisely because the UK Government has placed far more stringent timing criteria upon those seeking to reduce demand . It is a very unlevel playing field, where maximum 12 month arrangements on the demand side are “competing” with up to 15 year contracts on the fossil fuel supply side.
Logically this ruling should ultimately force the UK government to design an energy system that reduces bills by incentivising and empowering customers to use electricity in the most cost-effective way – while maximising the use of climate-friendly renewables. One wonders to whom the Forces of Good shall be able to turn , should the hardline Brexiteers get their way and block the ECJ from having any further jurisdiction here?