Renewables

Heavy criticism has been levelled at UK government energy policies by two separate parliamentary committees. The Environmental Audit Committee says ill-thought out policies caused a dive in clean energy investment, which fell 10% in 2016, and 56% last year. And the Public Accounts Committee says a government scheme to encourage clean heat is a failure that often produces dirty heat. The government says it is determined to meet its climate change targets. Investment in clean energy in the UK has slumped following a fusillade of changes to government policy. These include: A ban on new onshore wind farms; Withdrawing subsidies from solar; Taxing renewables; Selling the Green Investment Bank; Dumping the Zero Carbon Homes policy; Cancelling the £1bn Carbon Capture & Storage competition. Annual clean energy investment in the UK is now the lowest it has been since 2008 and the rate of installation for new renewables capacity is slowing.

BBC 16th May 2018 read more »

Consumers will pay about £1.5 billion too much for electricity from new offshore wind turbines because ministers awarded unnecessarily generous subsidies, the public spending watchdog has found. The government awarded contracts last year committing households and business to paying up to £176 million a year on their energy bills for 15 years to subsidise three large offshore wind farms and a clutch of small biomass and energy-from-waste projects. Yet more than half of this sum – or about £100 million a year – is likely to be the unnecessary result of a flawed tender process that gave some developers higher subsidies than they asked for, a National Audit Office (NAO) report published today shows. The majority of the extra costs are understood to relate to one wind farm, the 860-megawatt Triton Knoll project off the coast of Lincolnshire. The Times revealed in January that its developer, the German energy giant Innogy, admitted it was awarded more generous subsidies than it had asked for. The NAO report is the latest in a string of publications into how the government awards green energy subsidies that have found consumers have ended up with poor value for money. The watchdog previously concluded that early offshore wind farms could reap “excessive” profits because they were awarded subsidies without any competition in 2014.

Times 16th May 2018 read more »

A change in the rules of auctions designed to encourage more low-carbon generation will cost consumers and companies £100m a year in higher bills, the National Audit Office said. An investigation by the NAO found that rule changes introduced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy last year favoured smaller, more expensive projects over bigger schemes that would have generated more electricity at a cheaper price per unit. As a result, the contracts awarded will cost energy users – industrial as well as consumer – around £1.5bn more over the 15-year life of the schemes and could lead to higher electricity bills. The extra cost is in exchange for only a small amount of additional generating capacity according to the NAO, compared with what would have happened if the rules had not been changed. Meg Hillier, MP and chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, said BEIS had “once again …neglected to put the interests of service users at the forefront of its thinking”. Subsidy auctions to support investment in renewables have been a central part of energy policy as the government tries to meet tough carbon-reduction targets.

FT 16th May 2018 read more »

Telegraph 15th May 2018 read more »

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Published: 16 May 2018