Britain’s Budget: How green is it?

What energy and environment measures to watch out for in today’s UK Budget statement:

(Update: Here’s our initial reaction to energy measures announced in the Budget)

- More generous subsidies for offshore wind power, intended to rescue troubled projects such as the London Array, planned as the world’s biggest offshore wind farm

- A shake-up in support for pilot “clean coal” carbon capture power plants, replacing the UK government’s competition that would have backed a single project. Two or three plants are now likely to be supported

- A hint at a new strategy for coal, which will be set out in more detail by Ed Miliband, the energy secretary, on Thursday. The government plans to allow new coal-fired powr stations to be built, but will insist that the greenhouse gas emissions from coal are cut

- New “carbon budgets”, showing how far emissions must be cut in the next five years to keep Britain on track to hit the target of a reduction of 20 per cent or more by 2020. However, the details of how that reduction is to be delivered have yet to be decided

- A £2,000 allowance for motorists trading in their old cars, paid for half by the government, half by the industry. Can be portrayed as an energy saving measure because new cars are more fuel efficient

- £200m of new subsidies for high-cost unproven renewables, mostly wind and tidal power

- £300m of new subsidies for energy efficiency improvements in homes

- New tax breaks for North Sea oil and gas production, the help the industry, which has been battered by the slump in oil prices and a shortage of finance

- Confirmation of a more favourable tax treatment for gas used to maintain pressure at gas storage sites

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