The Energy Bill 2015-16 has been debated and Amended in the House of Lords. This paper provides a summary of those changes along with relevant background information for its debate in the House of Commons.Jump to full report >>
The Energy Bill has passed through the House of Lords and is due for Second Reading in the House of Commons on 18 January 2016.
The Bill mostly deals with fully establishing a new regulator, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), and how it regulates oil and gas companies in the UK’s territorial waters. It implements recommendations of the Wood Review on Maximising the Economic Recovery of petroleum from the UK’s continental shelf. In so doing it would formally establish the OGA as an independent regulator and transfer a number of functions to it from the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.
Additionally, the Bill would implement the Conservative Party’s manifesto commitment to alter the planning law on onshore windfarms.
Significant changes were made to the Bill in the House of Lords. The Bill was to have ended subsidies for new onshore wind in Great Britain under the Renewables Obligation (RO) from 1 April 2016. This clause was removed by an opposition amendment on division. Another new opposition clause amended the way progress would be measured under the UK’s carbon budgets.
Opposition amendments were also made that alter the “principle objective” of Maximising the Economic Recovery of oil and gas so that decommissioning and carbon capture and storage will need to be taken into account by operators in the offshore industry and by the OGA.
A new Part that also deals with infrastructure and decommissioning was added to the bill by Government amendments.
Government amendments were made to improve the functions of the OGA as set out in the Bill and bring in a new requirement for the Secretary of State to carry out reviews of the OGA’s performance each year.
The Bill in its current form will:
Commons Briefing papers CBP-7466
Authors: Edward White; Elena Ares; David Hough; Aaron Goater