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Insights from Arjan Geveke, Assistant Director of Energy Policy at BEIS

In light of recent and forthcoming Government announcements that will impact buisness energy, we spoke to Arjan Geveke, Assistant Director of Energy Policy within the Energy Productivity Team at BEIS.

Q: What themes can we expect in the Autumn Budget?

A: The Autumn Budget 2017 will set out the Government’s plans for the economy based on the latest forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility. Key policies that the Spring Budget specified would be included in Autumn Budget are the replacement of the existing Levy Control Framework by a new set of controls and further details on carbon prices for the 2020s.


Q: The Government recently launched its Clean Growth Strategy; what does it mean for UK businesses?

A: The Clean Growth Strategy sets out the Government’s plans to build on the successful decarbonisation of the power sector, while looking further across the whole of the economy and the country. It includes ambitious proposals on housing, business, transport and the natural environment.

Low carbon innovation is at the heart of the approach, with over £2.5 billion of Government investment from 2015 to 2021. The strategy also announced that Government will develop a package of measures to support businesses to improve their energy productivity, aiming for an improvement of at least 20% by 2030.

We know we need to do more to reduce emissions from the business sectors while ensuring an affordable energy supply; this is at the heart of the UK’s Industrial Strategy.


Q: What can we expect from the Industrial Strategy white paper?

A: The Government’s Industrial Strategy will create the conditions to boost earning power throughout the country. This requires a forward-looking approach to investment in innovation, skills, business and infrastructure. The shift to a clean energy, resource efficient and low carbon economy is one of the most foreseeable, significant and long-term economic trends, and Government is determined to maximise the advantages to UK industry of this trend. So, clean growth will be at the heart of the Industrial Strategy.


Q: The Government has recently announced a call for feedback on the Helm Cost of Energy review. What are the key things businesses should know about the review?

A: Professor Dieter Helm’s review sets out the views of an independent expert, and it sets out his ideas about carbon pricing, renewable deployment support and price control for network companies, amongst others.

The review is a contribution to a wider debate about the future of the power sector and Government wants to take the time to consider Professor Helm’s findings. It has launched a call for evidence and, as part of this process, we’re asking for the views of businesses, consumer groups, academics and other stakeholders. Meanwhile, we will continue to pursue the agenda set out in recent announcements, including:

  • Parliament is scrutinising the draft legislation designed to place a temporary cap on energy prices
  • Continuing delivery of reliable and secure electricity supplies through the Capacity Market
  • Providing up to £557 million committed for further Contract for Difference auctions for less established renewable technologies, with the next one planned for spring 2019


Q: What do you think the future holds for business energy/what impact do you think technology like AI and the IoT will have?

A: Government is empowering consumers by ensuring businesses can use energy when it is cheapest, and reward them for being flexible on when they use energy. By rolling out smart meters, enabling suppliers to offer smart tariffs, and harnessing the power of data communications in offices and gadgets, Government will make it easier for businesses to lower their energy bills. Its recent proposals to upgrade the energy systems are set out in the joint Ofgem-BEIS Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan.


Q: What tips would you give to businesses that are trying to cut their energy costs and carbon emissions?

A: Measure energy costs and carbon emissions where possible, and highlight these costs to the finance director. The finance director and operations or energy manager should sit down and discuss how best to invest in energy efficiency.