On Wednesday afternoon the government will announce the contents of its long-awaited Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR). This document effectively sets the budgets of many departments and agencies, including the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
Supportive policies are required to ensure that renewables such as solar, biomass, and energy storage are continued to be installed in the UK. The UK has become a world leader in the development and installation of renewable technologies over the past decade, an occurrence which has created tens of thousands of skilled jobs.
The renewables industry has been concerned in recent months by twelve proposed and approved damaging policy changes that signal the government’s sudden lack of commitment to the renewable economy. Now, in the days leading to the Paris Climate Conference it is clear that there is divergence between the direction of the world and the direction of the UK. This is highlighted particularly by today’s announcement that councils and cities all across the UK and globally are committing to install high volumes of renewable energy by 2050.
Today the REA released its “Top 10 Policies for a Clean 2020.” Assuming that the government is to meet its binding 2020 targets and wishes to be a credible body at the Paris conference, the renewables industry hopes to find the following in the CSR:
1) A renewed Renewable Heat Incentive budget
2) Review strategy for Zero Carbon Homes & buildings standards
3) Policy for heat networks
4) Interim Renewable Heat Incentive budget
5) Tax relief / lower council tax / property tax relief for onsite renewable heat, solar, storage
6) Capital grants for solar and storage
7) Energy efficiency scheme
8) Levy Control Framework budget confirmed beyond 2020 Contract for Difference round
9) Timing for next Contract for Difference round confirmed
10) Announce financial support for community energy projects
James Court, Head of Policy and External Affairs at the REA said: “After months of uncertainty and sudden changes, now is the time for the Government to show its support for renewable energy. They have repeatedly said they support this high-growth area while simultaneously pushing through more negative policy changes.
This CSR serves as an extraordinary opportunity for the UK to position itself again as a global leader in clean technology and to tell consumers that they can be confident in the government’s leadership in a post-coal Britain.”
Frank Aaskov, Policy Analyst with the REA said: “Certain policies are critical. The Renewable Heat Incentive is core to reaching the Government’s 2020 targets. We need to accelerate the growth of low carbon heat to hit our 2020 targets to deliver cost effective CO2 emission reductions and enhance energy security. This recently announced dash-for-subsidised-gas is not a realistic option.
“Without strong policies for Renewable Heat confirmed, the government has effectively given up on reaching their 2020 targets and will be facing heavy fines. Heat represent a third of all UK carbon emissions and if the Government is serious about Climate Change, it needs to get serious about decarbonise heat by confirming the Renewable Heat Incentive”