Many of us in the Renewables industry were hoping that the Budget of 16th March would see some important funding and much needed focus geared towards renewable technologies. However, with tax breaks for oil and gas put forward, there was little mentioned about renewables.
Energy and climate change did feature in Osborne’s proposals but they are perhaps less ambitious than many had hoped for. A representative of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) declared the Budget as “fairly low-key on the energy side”.
- The Climate Change Levy (CCL) will be increased in 2019. This now includes renewable power.
- £50m has been allocated for energy storage innovation
- £730m will be used for additional Contracts for Difference (CfD) auctions
- The Government plans to work closely with Ofgem to help the UK become a world leader in smart technologies.
Statistics published by Renewable UK last year revealed that wind energy now contributes for 10% of UK electricity, yet we are still left somewhat in the dark with how the Government plans to factor this into their long-term energy plans. We know the importance of oil and gas but there are many renewable technologies which continue to be overlooked on a national scale.
Wind energy and solar energy both face ongoing challenges with energy and climate change plans. Of course, the Government is keen to cut our carbon footprint but it seems some simple measures are not being utilised fully. Recent changes to the Feed-In-Tariff scheme, for example, means individuals and businesses are not currently incentivised to adopt low-carbon electricity generation techniques and small-scale renewable technologies. The Feed-In-Tariff is “paused” until 7th February 2016.
With solar energy, the industry is voicing it’s concerns over the lack of regulatory measures supporting solar investment. More businesses do want to make the move to solar power but with a lack of investment, there is little incentive for them to do so.
There is an ever-increasing need and public awareness that greener electricity generation is essential for the long-term. Osborne’s Budget may have boasted about the abolished Petroleum Revenue Tax on profits but it didn’t really address the key matters the renewables industry is looking for.