Government pledges low-carbon scheme support

The coalition will continue to support renewable energy projects, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg maintained at the Global Business Summit on Energy on Monday (6 August).

The government attracted criticism in July after farm-scale FiTs were lowered and some Renewables Obligations bandings removed. It was also reported that the Department of Energy and Climate Change had clashed with the Treasury over changes to support rates.

Mr Clegg denied the government was divided over renewable energy, and said it was working on balancing and sequencing the different energy policies.

“This coalition government is unreservedly committed to helping our low-carbon sector thrive – no ifs, no buts. And we want to support the shift by traditional industry to cleaner sources of energy, while of course recognising the pressures they face,” said Mr Clegg.

“When we say that we want green growth, that is not flimsy political rhetoric: It is a very real aim, driven by very real economic needs.

“I think it’s important to put that up in lights. The coalition is sometimes presented, in the press, as if it is riddled with debate and division with regard to greening the economy.

“That isn’t the case. Yes, there will be internal discussions and debates on the balance and sequencing of different policies – that’s the nature of any government – and energy policies will evolve over time as costs come down.”

However, industry bodies called for the government to be clearer and more certain about future tariffs.

“The coalition government needs to do much better on providing a clear and stable policy framework to make sure the UK isn’t left further behind,” said Gaynor Hartnell, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association.

“Recent decisions on support levels for renewable power technologies, which have failed to provide the expected certainty out to 2017, together with the uncertain status of the Electricity Market Reform package, do not provide the stable framework that industry needs.”