The UK Government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) published proposals in August for dramatic reductions in financial support for renewable energy technologies, to take effect 1 January 2016. We are now midway through a consultation period and pressure is mounting from various directions as bodies outside the renewables sector start to realise what this would mean – effectively a dismantling of the recently created renewable energy development market in the run-up to December’s Climate Change Conference in Paris.
In yesterday’s news alone we have
– former US Vice President Al Gore saying he is “puzzled” by the UK Government’s stance. “Words, words, what about actions?” he asks. “I hope they have got a plan… The idea that they have run out of money is crap… If there’s no money, how can they offer [a strike price of 9.5p/kWh] to nuclear”, a reference to the Hinckley nuclear reactor deal announced this week.
– the CBI, who traditionally take a more temperate tone than Mr Gore’s, saying “The green economy is an emerging market in its own right, brimming with opportunity. Yet, with the roll-back of renewables policies and the mixed messages on energy efficiency, the government risks sending a worrying signal to businesses.”
And today The Guardian reports that £1,700bn of investment funding is now being switched out of fossil fuel companies for fear of climate change and loss of investment value.
We are left wondering whether Amber Rudd and her colleagues at DECC will change direction now as the pressure grows or whether there might perhaps be an eleventh-hour realisation, on the eve of Paris, that we are sending exactly the wrong signals to global partners and investors on green energy. This may have with worked Scottish Independence, where voters could be swayed at the last minute, but would be too late for a renewable energy industry which has already realised that it is heading for a big contraction under the current proposals.
You can review DECC’s proposals and respond to them here.
Sources: with thanks to edie.net, Guardian Newspapers and BBC News.