Have KPMG slammed renewables? Er, they're not sure?

  • 07 Nov 2011, 18:00
  • Christian Hunt

Has accountancy giant KPMG written a report slamming the role of renewables in government policy or not? The answer to that question seemed clear this morning, but has become increasingly murky as the day progresses.

It all made sense when we got into the office. The Sunday Times trailed the report yesterday, with the top-line:

"The government could save each member of the population almost £550 by 2020 if it scraps expensive wind energy plans in favour of cheaper nuclear and gas-fired power plants.

A controversial report by KPMG, the accountants and adviser on government energy policy, will this week say that Britain can reach the 2020 target on reducing pollution imposed by the European Union for a third less than predicted, a potential saving of £34 billion."

The article also said that

"The report could reignite the feud between George Osborne, the chancellor, and Chris Huhne, the energy secretary, on how best to tackle Britain's energy needs."

This morning RenewableUK - a renewables industry lobby group - released a statement criticising what they called the "flawed KPMG energy report", with their analysis apparently based on the Sunday Times story and a KPMG press release outlining the main conclusions of the work.

We're interested in this kind of thing, and so we got in touch with KPMG to ask if we could see a pre-release copy of the report. Weirdly, KPMG responded by telling us that the Sunday Times story was based on "preliminary findings" and "...the full report itself is still being written". They added cheerily that they would let us know when they had a clearer idea of timing, and "hopefully we're not too far off!"

This is strange because according to RenewableUK, the Guardian, and, er, the KPMG press release, the report will be out tomorrow. And BusinessGreen says that:

"a spokesman for KMPG declined to disclose the full findings of the report to BusinessGreen, but said it had been finalised and would be published shortly."

It also seems the findings of the report will form a key part of tonight's 'Panorama'. The presenter of the programme, Tom Heap, tweeted earlier today:

"Could the Government's commitment to renewables like offshore wind be adding £34 bn to energy bills? #panorama t'nite 8.30 BBC 1"

The £34 billion figure is also the top-line of the KPMG report as trailed in the Times. KPMG told us that their press release was a "draft press release that was not issued to the media. This has been leaked."

It's difficult to comment properly on KPMG's work when you haven't seen the report - it may well be perfectly sound. This all smacks slightly of our previous experience trying to understand energy numbers in the media which turned out to be based on a report which wasn't publicly available, which the authors wouldn't discuss, and which contained no further detail about how the figure was calculated.

We'll wait and see what use Panorama makes of the KPMG's work in progress. But it's always nice to know where the numbers have come from, and if the work (maybe) hasn't been done yet, that can be tricky...

Email Share to Facebook Stumble It
blog comments powered by Disqus