Brown goes slightly green

Gordon Brown was talking up the government’s green spending in the Independent today ahead of the UK Budget on April 22. It was hardly on the scale of the energy announcements that have been coming out of the US – in fact there was very little in it that hadn’t been already announced. But with the state of the UK public finances there are unlikely to be any big energy-related surprises in the Budget.

Most of the news related to cars. Alastair Darling will announce trials for electric cars in two or three cities, and the government “will open talks with power companies to ensure the vehicles can have their batteries recharged at a national network of power points at the roadside.”

Brown also mentioned cash incentives for car ‘scrappage’ – measures to encourage drivers to replace their old cars. This has been under consideration for some time. In the Independent, Brown mentioned a figure of up to £2,000 per car.

And to set an example, ministers will have electric cars.

Virtually everything else reported has been kicking around for some time – but that’s politics.  To recap:

Clean coal – The government is offering funding for the UK’s first post-combustion carbon capture and storage project. Eon, Scottish Power and a joint venture of RWE Npower and Peel Holdings are competing for the cash.

Green jobs - Alastair Darling hopes to create 400,000 in the next five years. However FT research back in December suggested that even 160,000 jobs, a number earlier given by the government, would be difficult to attain. (In fact, ‘green jobs’ in general can be interpreted in many different ways, making real numbers even more difficult to ascertain.)

Smart meters – Plans to introduce these for all households have been around for some time – so long in fact that they have been delayed several times and the government is yet to decide how to introduce them.

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