Ministers slated over £16.6bn energy contract debacle

Government ministers are in hot water after awarding an incredible £16.6bn of renewable energy contracts to corporate power providers, rather than putting them out to tender on the market.

The National Audit Office (NAO) has criticised the dealings which could leave consumers short-changed.

The NAO said that “too much money” was awarded to the firms in question, and without competitive pressure, could have the effect of passing on higher energy prices to customers.

The news follows statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate change, showing that renewable energy accounted for a fifth of all energy generated in Britain during the first three months of the year; up 43% since last year, according to the Guardian.

It is understood that the department gave the green light to several offshore wind farms and biomass projects in order to maintain the pace of green investments ahead of energy targets and a new subsidisation model which becomes operational in May 2015.

Amyas Morse, head of the audit office, said: “The [£16.6bn] investments support should contribute to the UK’s achieving its energy target in 2020, but it is not clear that awarding fewer early contracts would have put the achievement of that target at risk.”

A Department of Energy and Climate change spokesman said: “These early contracts are designed to offer better value to billpayers than the previous system and have reassured those we need to invest in our energy security. Without that investment, projects would have been unable to go ahead or been significantly delayed, putting our future energy security at risk.” 

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