ORA’s theme for 2018/19 is ‘Preparing for Change’, which was originally intended to focus on BREXIT, the changes to ORA’s own identity / broader membership focus and the Government’s Decarbonisation Agenda. On the basis that BREXIT has become a pantomime horse, it has been necessary to focus more on the decarbonisation agenda, which is just as well – as it is a much bigger topic than BREXIT!
The Truth of the matter is that ORA’s members have been living the decarbonisation agenda for the last 11 years, but they may not have realised that until January this year. The Climate Change Act 2008 (CCA) is now very old news but as the implementation is geared to 5 yearly carbon budget periods, the delivery of those legally binding changes has been piecemeal at best. Nevertheless, the writing has been on the wall since 2014 at the latest and now, in 2019, the die is already cast for further budget periods right through to 2032.
ORA’s members have experienced dramatic market changes during the last 5 to 10 years, changes that have absolutely nothing to do with the oil price. The massive reduction in the demand for fuel oil in the traditional power sector market has been the direct result of the CCA and the resultant 2nd carbon budget period through to 2017. We are now part way through the 3rd carbon budget period and the ‘hockey stick’ 4th budget period is only 3 years away. All carbon budget periods are based on % cuts to the 1990 greenhouse gas emission baseline, but as the 1990 baseline was artificially elevated when it was referenced in the CCA 18 years later, the 1st carbon budget was like picking the low hanging fruit. The tough changes kicked in after 2013.