Fiona Harvey Good, but not good enough

Renewable energy companies have been digesting the contents of the UK’s Budget since it was delivered last Wednesday. While many are pleased that there is new funding available for the likes of offshore wind, microgeneration, energy efficiency and new low-carbon businesses, there are some concerns.

Here are some thoughts from Jeremy Leggett, founder and executive chairman of the UK solar company Solar Century:

“This budget gets us on the road with a green new deal in the UK. In the context of significant tightening elsewhere in the budget, the sums made available for subsidies, loans, investment funds and capital allowances in energy efficiency and renewables can make a difference, and create many jobs. Industry and government now needs to pull together to execute. We have some catching up to do.”

Derry Newman, chief executive of Solar Century, said:

“The announcement of an additional £45m for the Low Carbon Buildings Programme should end the current suspension of PV grant applications under Phase 2 of the LCBP and enable this sector to plan with confidence for the launch of the feed-in tariff in April 2010. The Treasury is to be congratulated for recognising the important contribution that technologies such as solar PV can make to delivering a low carbon Britain. We look forward to working with the Department for Energy to ensure that the current hiatus in solar PV support is lifted urgently.”

But the amounts available are relatively small.  Mr Leggett pointed out that just to meet the current level of demand for government grants for solar installations would require £24m to April 2010. The £45m of funding, meant to tide the industry over before a programme of feed-in tariffs replaces the current grants in 2010,  also has to cover heat technologies and other microrenewables, such as small wind turbines.