Budget to re-energise funding and planning for renewables

Budget to re-energise funding and planning for renewables

The Coalition Government’s second budget was today welcomed by RenewableUK, the country’s leading renewable energy trade association, as containing a number of policies encouraging long term sector growth. However, the organisation warned that these should be considered an initial step, requiring further refinement and action.

Measures on planning designed to promote economic growth (including a 12 month deadline for decisions), which could have a positive impact on onshore wind farm applications, underline industry estimates that around £1 million from each installed megawatt stays at regional and local level during the life time of the wind farm. But, RenewableUK warned that ‘sustainable development’ needs to be defined closer, as it is set to significantly impact the planning process

The trebling of funds for the Green Investment Bank (GIB) and its new 2012 earlier start up date were warmly welcomed, with the association reminding that it should serve as catalyst for investment.

Commenting further Dr. Gordon Edge, RenewableUK Policy Director, said:

“The Government made the right decision to set up the GIB as a bank, rather than a fund, with the powers to borrow money post 2015. The fact that the GIB funds will be underwritten by the Treasury shows Government commitment to attracting long term investment. ”

While supporting the carbon-floor price, which will make low carbon electricity more competitive with electricity from coal and gas, the industry called for a longer term indication of post 2020 levels. RenewableUK also called for a commitment to reinvest proceeds (projected at over 3 billion in 2013-2016) in low carbon transition programmes and green energy R&D.

“Today’s details on the carbon floor price and the GIB should be the first steps towards a long term solution on funding for a host of technologies such as the next generation of offshore wind farms and wave and tidal devices. We would encourage more clarity and further action following today’s budget, as the measures so far look promising,” concluded Edge.

Finally, measures on enterprise zones and education and training could translate into supply chain growth, particularly around UK ports. RenewableUK has called for more action in encouraging entrants not just at apprentice and graduate levels, but also for mature employees looking to transfer skills.

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