The Tories are withdrawing subsidies for green power projects until 2025, but offering tax breaks for North Sea oil and gas developers. There will be no subsidies available for wind farms, solar plants, tidal lagoons or any other green power projects until 2025 at the earliest, the Chancellor said yesterday — sparking fears the UK could fail to meet its 2030 emissions target. Greenpeace labelled the 2017 budget “one of the least green ever”, after it was announced the Tories will also offer tax breaks to North Sea oil and gas developers, reinvigorating the fields and potentially putting climate goals in jeopardy. The Green Party said Philip Hammond had “ducked the opportunity to take bold action on climate change”. Despite small concessions to saving the environment — a new tax on plastic and investment in infrastructure for electric cars — Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas said the Government had failed to get to grips with the climate crisis.
Left Foot Forward 23rd Nov 2017 read more »
The case for fracking in Britain has weakened because of government action to extract more oil and gas from the North Sea and meteoric growth in renewable power, according to a Conservative MP tasked with developing the party’s energy policy. James Heappey said the new rules on tax relief for offshore oil and gas fields announced in last week’s budget could change the energy landscape. “I suppose there’s a question mark over whether we’ve managed to unlock that [offshore], is an onshore industry as important as it was a couple of years ago,” said Heappery, who was recently appointed chair of an internal policy committee on energy. His comments came as the government prepared to issue its final consent for hydraulic fracturing at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire. If the green light is given in December, as expected, the fracking project will be the first in Britain for six year. It follows years of delays because bans and planning battles. In an interview with the Guardian, Heappey said the rationale for exploiting shale gas had been undercut by the growth in wind and solar power, and by new technologies that can reduce big energy users’ demand at peak times. Heappey said another announcement in the budget, of no new subsidies for low-carbon power until 2025, was not as bad news as it may appear for the renewables sector. He argued that wind and solar were on the cusp of being viable in Britain without subsidies. “I just think we’ve reached that point,” he said, though he acknowledged “there will be people in industry who say we’re close but not quite there”. The Treasury defended the decision to stop new green energy subsidies on the grounds that energy billpayers would be paying £8.6bn a year for the power stations by 2025. Heappey said the strategy was the right one. “Government should seek to get itself out of the place it has ended up in. The UK energy market hasn’t benefited from government stuck in the middle of it, saying how much it’s willing to pay for technology.”
Guardian 26th Nov 2017 read more »