Speaking on the issue at yesterday’s Energy UK conference, Benj Sykes, UK country manager at Dong Energy, said: “We are now living in the world of rhetoric and unfortunately rational debate is becoming an endangered species.”
This point of view was shared by bosses at both Drax and E.ON, two of the UK’s largest energy companies, who were also present at the conference.
Need for agreement to avoid ‘having a debate in the dark’
Sykes was referring to the highly publicized debate surrounding energy prices which is currently taking place between the main political parties.
Labour leader Ed Miliband has called for a 20 month price freeze and has pledged to implement this should his party win the next general election. Prime Minister David Cameron, on the other hand, has focused on reviewing green subsidies on energy bills.
Sykes explained that it was increasingly difficult for him to persuade Dong Energy’s board to invest in the UK due to this lack of uncertainty.
“We need to get back to agreeing on a few things otherwise we are all going to be sat here having a debate in the dark,” he said.
Dong Energy has invested roughly £4 billion in the UK over the past 10 years.
Reforms need to be faster
Sykes also complained about the speed of the government’s reforms. He singled out the current planning around the creation of new nuclear power plants has particularly slow. The process has been on-going for the past three years and is unfinished.
“For us that is starting to become a challenge. Our future round of investments – we are talking a few billion pounds worth of investments – they are not on the horizon, they are actually knocking on the door now. So we do need that certainty, and time is getting short,” Sykes told attendees.