• Government pledges ‘£200 million for the development of low carbon technologies including offshore wind technology and manufacturing at ports sites’
• Industry awaits details
RenewableUK, the country’s leading renewable energy trade association, stated that, given the range of cuts necessary to reduce the UK’s deficit, the part of the spending review dealing with renewable energy and the environment is credible and considered. The ports funding for which the association lobbied over the past few months by launching an Early Day Motion, an open letter to the Treasury and by raising the issue in the media, seems to have been retained.
While the status of the Marine Renewables Development Fund, which allocates funding for wave and tidal, is at this stage unclear, announcements on the Green Investment Bank, the continued support for the Renewable Obligation funding mechanism and the feed-in tariff, has reassured the industry that the Government remains committed to supporting the sector and reaching the 2020 targets on reducing carbon emissions.
Further details of how the funding held by the Department of Energy and Climate Change will be allocated should emerge on Monday 25 October.
RenewableUK Chief Executive, Maria McCaffery MBE said:
“Retaining the Ports Fund will give the industry a huge boost and establish the UK as a major force in renewable energy manufacturing. Signals from Government are positive that the £60 million will be retained as part of the ‘£200 million for the development of low carbon technologies including offshore wind technology and manufacturing at ports sites’ in part 1.4 of the Spending Review.”
RenewableUK also stated that if there are cuts to the Marine Renewables Deployment Fund, they should be followed by a new support mechanism for marine power technologies.
RenewableUK’s Head of Offshore Renewables, Peter Madigan said:
“With many exciting new projects in the pipeline, including the new Wave Hub off Cornwall, it’s essential that the Government acts quickly to shore up investor confidence in our burgeoning marine power industry. The MRDF was intended to provide support for the first commercial arrays of wave and tidal power plants, and similar funding coupled with a long-term revenue support mechanism will be required if Britain is to meet its potential and become a world leader in marine power technology.”
The announcement of a Green Investment Bank holding an initial £1 billion of funding intended to support environmental projects, including renewable energy and energy efficiency, has been cautiously welcomed.
RenewableUK’s Director of Policy, Gordon Edge said:
“The announcement of the Green Investment Bank is an important signal of the Government’s commitment to developing a low-carbon economy. However, it’s important to recognise that at the proposed level of capitalisation the GIB will not have sufficient funding to support the hundreds of billions of pounds of investment necessary to construct the energy infrastructure the UK will require over the next two decades. It’s crucial that a stable policy framework is put in place to secure that investment from the private sector.”
Finally, retaining support for Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) at current levels, despite ROCs being recently reclassified as public spending sent an encouraging signal to the industry that the economics of major wind projects will be adequately supported. Together with the feed-in tariff being retained up to the scheduled review in 2014-15, it is likely that the decision will continue to incentivise deployment.