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Government is committed to an energy efficient future, but not at the expense of taxpayers, consumers or businesses – and there is no indication of when that future will arrive.


That was the message from Andrea Leadsom (left, at the Conference), number two at the Department for Energy and Climate Change since May, who gave the opening address at the Energy Live News 2015 Conference at The Barbican in London yesterday.


Speaking to an audience of ‘green’ companies and organisations and national media, the one-time investment banker repeatedly denied that the string of energy efficiency programmes cancelled by the Government since the election in May represented a u-turn by ministers.


She told delegates: “There are huge opportunities for growth and jobs, but there are huge challenges ahead too.  We have been very clear that we are committed to decarbonisation, but costs must not be met by consumers.  The costs of programmes supporting renewable have already exceeded what was intended by Government.


“We are in the middle of a spending review, so we don’t know exactly where that will go. There is an idea that we can just throw money at things, but you can’t unfairly overburden the consumer.  We want technologies to stand on their own feet.  We want to back renewables, but we need to keep bills low.”


In fact the minister hinted strongly that inefficient coal-fired power stations might increasingly play a part in the Government’s thinking.  “We still have a dependence on coal,” she said, “and I can’t say when we will stop using it.  We want to see a diverse mix of energy.”


In response to some tough questioning from the audience she denied that Chancellor George Osborne was “pulling the strings” of spending departments, and insisted: “We have to help to keep down the burden on consumers and small businesses.”

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