Green with anger
The renewables sector is up in arms following the Chancellor's Summer Budget
The implications of Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget announcement for renewable energy have sparked outrage from the renewables sector. Yesterday the Chancellor announced that renewable electricity will not be exempt from the Climate Change Levy (CCL) from August 2015. In a fiery response, RenewableUK, which represents the wind, wave and tidal energy industries, said that the step was a ‘punitive measure’ for the clean energy sector, while Drax, the power utility, said it was ‘surprised and disappointed’. The UK Green Building Council commented that Osborne had presented a ‘barren budget’ for the green industry.
While the Chancellor did commit to the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project and a £60m investment in a new Energy Research Accelerator, the absence of any other substantive policies aimed at boosted the renewables sector will provide a fillip to critics of the government’s record on clean energy. The CCL announcement follows the Energy Minister’s decision to end subsidies for onshore wind.
Indeed it is becoming increasingly difficult to defend the government’s approach to renewables. The Conservatives have consistently argued that they remain committed to clean energy and cuts to subsidies are aimed at creating value for money for taxpayers. However it appears that the government is beginning to lose control of the message. That the announcements come at the same time as the government reveals further tax breaks for the North Sea oil and gas industry and strong backing for fracking, will only add to suspicions that renewables are an afterthought.