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Vince Cable: Balancing consumer interests and green investment is ‘horrendously difficult’

Business Secretary calls for government to be more open about the high cost of green energy and says it serves no purpose to simply criticize the industry for rising costs

Cable has suggested the Government highlight the challenges facing the energy industry

Cable has suggested the Government highlight the challenges facing the energy industry

Speaking at an Edelman event about consumer trust in relation to the energy sector, Vince Cable said it was necessary for the government to be more explicit in explaining the costs behind the move to a greener energy industry.

The Business Secretary was keen to underline the complexity of the issues facing the UK’s energy sector. He referred to the “horrendously difficult problem” of trying to balance consumer needs, security of energy supply and climate change.

Cable’s suggestions are in contrast to other government departments which have instead been focussing on saying that energy prices will fall, in the long-term, thanks to greener energy sources.

Cable: Complex sector with multiple objectives

According to the Telegraph, Cable said: “The cost of new nuclear is a hell of a lot more than the long-term marginal cost of bringing in new gas and coal [power stations]. Offshore wind is three times the current price of gas [fuelled generation].”

“We have to have greener energy and we know at least in the short term that’s relatively expensive,” he explained, adding, “So I don’t pretend for a moment this is an easy issue, there’s no point really just berating the energy industry and saying you’ve got to get all these things right because it’s impossible.”

Cable’s comments follow the publication of a new report, which states energy bills are set to rise by £127 by 2020 – twice the figure predicted by the government. The main reason behind this rise is that consumers are unlikely to adopt energy efficient technologies quickly enough to counter-balance the rise of green subsides.

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