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IEA Review of UK Energy Policy Lauds Low GHG Vision, Indicates Further Investment and Competition Needed

IEA30 May 2012: The International Energy Agency (IEA) has published a report, titled “Energy Policies of IEA Countries – United Kingdom 2012 Review,” which applauds the UK's long-term vision for a low-carbon future in which greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced by 80% from 1990 to 2050 – and its achievements to date.

However, the report also cautions on the design and implementation of the policies, and provides a number of recommendations for UK policymakers to consider.

The report comprises of four parts: policy analysis; sector analysis; energy technology; and annexes. Part I includes chapters on general energy policy, climate change, and energy efficiency. Part II focuses on oil and natural gas, coal, carbon capture and storage, renewable energy, nuclear energy and electricity. Part III is devoted to energy research, development and demonstration. The report recognizes the significant level of ambition in the UK's efforts reduce emissions.

The report highlights that on low carbon electricity, as part of its EU obligations, the UK must obtain 15% of its final gross energy consumption from renewable energy sources by 2020. The report also indicates that energy use per unit of GDP in the UK is one of the lowest among the IEA member countries, reflecting both the large share of services and the small share energy-intensive industry in the economy, but also improvements in energy efficiency.

It recommends inter alia that the UK should: maintain its long-term ambition to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions and continue its multilateral work to develop firm and integrated international carbon-pricing policies; take steps to encourage necessary private investment in energy infrastructure; finalize electricity market reform proposals with a view to reducing uncertainty and encouraging efficient, innovative and cost-effective outcomes; and address the need to increase competition among electricity market players and to strengthen market-based arrangements. [IEA Press release] [Website for Energy policies of IEA countries-UK] [Publication: Executive Summary for Energy Policies of IEA countries - UK]