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The Diplomatic Dispatch

The British Ambassador to Sweden blogs on The Local

Posts Tagged ‘energy’


Thursday, August 8th, 2013

I blogged on 4 July about the Government’s proposals for Electricity Market Reform. It sounds, and is, quite technical, but it’s also an important part of stimulating new investment in the UK’s energy sector and meeting our climate change targets.

Part of the deal to attract investment is to have formal agreements which guarantee the price to be paid for electricity produced by various more environmentally friendly means, including on-shore and off-shore wind, solar, etc.

The outline of these deals was published in July when the Government announced the proposed prices to be paid for electricity.

This week a detailed draft of the contract that Government will offer investors in low-carbon energy generation was published, providing further certainty to prospective developers and investors.

The aim of reforming the electricity market is to keep the lights on, decarbonise the economy and minimise costs to consumers, while keeping the sector attractive for investors.

New long term price agreements, the so-called Contracts for Difference, are being introduced to help incentivise up to £110 billion of private sector investment up to 2020, to renew the UK’s energy infrastructure.

Contracts for Difference are vital to give investors the confidence they need to pay the up-front costs of major new energy infrastructure projects.

Today, the draft terms of the contracts were published, alongside the methodology through which contracts will be allocated. The documents and full press release are available on GOV.UK. For more information you can contact Daniel.Nutley2@fco.gov.uk, at the Embassy.

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Thursday, July 4th, 2013

It was a delight, as always to be in Visby this week for Almedalen. I spoke at a seminar on the “Swedish super-model” and attended several interesting discussions on Europe, defence policy, Swedish politics and economics.

Energy policy and climate change were also themes, as they are for the UK government. Like all EU partners, the UK faces the challenge of meeting ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions.

With around a fifth of Great Britain’s ageing power plants due to close over the coming decade, and further closures in the later 2020s, the UK needs huge investment in its energy infrastructure.

So the challenge is also an opportunity, including for Swedish investors.

Our Energy Minister, Ed Davey, talked to actual and potential investors in Stockholm in February, to illustrate the scale of our ambitions. Over the last week, in making further announcements on the detail of the support we’ll give to this low-carbon transition, he’s been able to spell out more of the detail. As he said,

“No other sector is equal in scale to the British power market, in terms of the opportunity that it offers to investors, and the scale of the infrastructure challenge.

“Our reforms will renew our electricity supply, attracting up to £110 billion investment in a mix of clean, secure power and demand reduction, and will support up to 250,000 jobs up and down the supply-chain.”

To underpin all this, the Government will introduce a Capacity Market from 2014. This will ensure sufficient electricity supplies from winter 2018 by attracting necessary investment in new and existing generation, as well as other forms of capacity such as demand response. Suppliers will bid to provide energy at guaranteed prices.

The government also announced details of the proposed “strike” prices that will apply in 2014 – 2019 for renewable electricity, including from onshore and offshore wind, tidal, wave, biomass conversion and large solar projects. By 2020 £7.6 billion a year will be spent in support of this renewable power programme.

Strike prices remove price volatility risk for electricity generated from low-carbon sources, providing greater certainty to generators and a better deal to consumers.

They form a core component of the UK Government’s strategy to bring forward investment in affordable low-carbon electricity generation – including renewables, Carbon Capture and Storage and new nuclear capacity.

The aim is that renewable energy makes up more than 30% of the UK’s electricity mix in 2020, helping significantly to decarbonise the power sector by 2030.

“Strike Prices for renewable technologies announced today aim to make the UK market one of the most attractive for developers of wind, wave, tidal, solar and other renewable technologies, whilst minimising the costs to consumers,” Ed Davey said.

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A budget for business and growth

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

20 March, as well as being the Spring Equinox, was budget day in the UK.

As in other European countries, the UK economy has been affected by the chill of the eurozone’s problem and the long winter of the international financial crisis.

Against this backdrop, our government has announced several new measures to stimulate recovery. More details on the HM Treasury website.


•    Reduction in the main rate of corporation tax (currently 24%) by an additional 1% to 20% by April 2015, the joint lowest rate in the G20.

•    Simplifying the corporation tax system to a single rate.

•    Boosting innovation by increasing R & D tax credits and reducing corporation tax rate on profits from patents to 10%


•    Plans to increase spending on infrastructure by £3bn a year by 2015.

•    Implement Lord Heseltine’s recommendations including the creation of a single local growth fund, to attract international investment.

•    £1.6bn to support investment in 11 key sectors through the new industrial strategies from the Department for Business.

•    Investing £5.4bn in new housing schemes to encourage buyers and increase access to mortgages, and support the UK’s construction sector.


•    To take forward two Carbon Capture Storage projects to the detailing planning and design stage. This represents the next step in the £1 billion CCS commercialisation programme.

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Europe, energy, and the green growth economy

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Last week I spent two fascinating days in Uppsala, talking to students about UK views on the future of Europe, and meeting local politicians, businesses and academics.

I stressed, as I did at a meeting with the British-Swedish Chamber of Commerce, the UK’s commitment to the EU, but also our recognition of the need for reform.

We had a top UK politician in Stockholm last week.

The Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey, met his Swedish counterparts, Anna-Karin Hatt and Lena Ek. He also talked to actual and potential Swedish investors in the UK.

There’s a huge opportunity for Swedish investors in the UK energy market.  We need £110 billion investment over the next decade to replace our ageing energy infrastructure (coal fired power plants and nuclear energy) with a more diverse and low-carbon energy mix, particularly more renewable energy.

We start the process of decarbonising our economy a long way behind Sweden, given your natural advantages. Our aim is to have 15% of our energy from renewable by 2020 (which is our EU target), whereas Sweden is already, I think, getting more than triple that, almost half its energy, from renewables.

But we’re committed to meeting our goals: indeed we’ve set a long term goal of cutting carbon emissions by 80% by 2050; that is why it is so important that we increase the share of our energy we get from renewables alongside other low carbon technologies such as carbon capture and storage.

Ed Davey and Lena Ek talked to their Danish and Dutch counterparts about the need to make the case, in the EU and beyond, for a Green Growth strategy, showing that making the planet healthier is fully compatible with continuing to grow our economies. That will also be a theme when David Cameron goes to Latvia to meet his Nordic and Baltic counterparts at the third Northern Future Forum this week.

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Green Deal and greener dealing

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Last week, two notable “green” events came to my attention.

First, the UK government launched The Green Deal.

This encourages property owners to make energy-saving improvements by allowing them to off-set costs against reductions in their bills. In other words, you can now pay for the the improvements over time on your electricity bill, rather than having to find the money up front. The typical household’s monthly saving on energy costs is expected to be more than the cost of the monthly repayments.

This programme is expected to:

• Boost the low carbon economy through the creation of up to 60,000 jobs in the insulation sector alone by 2015

• Provide new financing opportunities for consumers

• Enable businesses to better compete for energy efficiency opportunities; and

• Open up the energy efficiency market to new consumers and producers.

The Green Deal should also provide significant further opportunities for Swedish business to invest in the UK energy sector. Our UKTI team (Jenny Gardner and Daniel Nutley in the Embassy) can provide more information.

Also last week, the Sustainable Fashion Academy in Sweden gave its Global Leadership Award for Sustainable Apparel to the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the UK non-profit organization, Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

The Award aims to identify and share best practice in order to accelerate sustainability within the clothing and fashion industry. DEFRA and WRAP were recognised for their leadership in demonstrating the role of government in ensuring the clothing and fashion industries respond successfully to global trends – particularly, environmental and social challenges.

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Blog updates

02 September

America night (Blogweiser) »

" There was an event this weekend for the ‘Americans in Sweden’ Facebook group. I’m a member, and I brought my girls to the evening. The gathering was at a Boston-themed sportsbar in a mall. There were loads of screens, a bowling alley, a game room and a jumbotron. It was as good a place as any to..." READ »


25 August

Hit och dit, här och där (The Swedish Teacher) »

" Hej igen! A common challenge for Swedish language students are the location adverbs hit/här, dit/där, hem/hemma etc. Some of the location adverbs come in two versions. We should use one type of location adverb when we use a verb describes where we are, and we should use the other type of location adverb when we the verb..." READ »

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