From New Power’s February interview with Infinis chief executive Eric Machiels:
As we approach the general election Eric Machiels seems pessimistic about politicians’ announcements in the short term, saying “They have never sat in front of a board asking for £100 million investment commitment…. If you bring up an energy topic for purely electoral reasons – of course everyone wants to have a lower bill, but if you haven’t thought through the implications the result is another two years of uncertainty on the investment horizon…
“The only people investing in energy in the UK today are the renewable energy players. When you see the Capacity Market at £19 per MWh, no–one is going to build new plant for that. The fundamental issue of investment in new baseload capacity has not been resolved. Where are the incentives going to come from to convince those boards to invest in new-build capacity?”
But beyond that he is positive. “Everyone knows power from renewables has to go from 15 to 30% by 2020 – doubling in next few years. That’s what I say to my shareholders who see politicians who are not backing renewables – the numbers are very simple.
“Even though certain parties in the UK government show little support for onshore wind or solar, say, … the government is determined to meet its 2020 targets.”
He cites an element of national pride in that. As for the election result, whatever may happen on the fringe, “We have no reason to believe that the Lib Dems, Labour or the SNP would come back on those targets, In the next government some coalition will be required. No new government will wake up after the election and say ‘we aren’t interested in meeting 2020 targets.”
Apart from the bad press, “all the companies that are investing billions in new renewables will say that if the UK were to do that the UK would become uninvestable, not just for renewables but for other energy infrastructrure. “It would be a shambles,” he says.
He doesn’t underestimate the challenge . “It will be a ‘Tough Mudder’,” he says, referring to the races that combine running with assault courses, mud and other obstacles. “Given how interventionist politicians are we will have to constantly dodge rockets left and right, that’s the reality. But if you have a responsible set of politicians they know there is no alternative.”
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