It’s the big day. Finally we see what the UK government’s spending plans are going to look like over the next four years. But what will George Osborne’s announcement mean for the energy industry? We asked a group of experts, industry insiders and campaigners to give us their view on the main things they want to hear from the chancellor. Here’s what they said:
The big one that we are waiting for is the renewable heat incentive – we are on tenterhooks to have that confirmed, and if it is, we need to find out which technologies will be included and when it will start.
We are also very concerned about the future of PV cells. The page of the spending review that was photographed yesterday seemed to talk about promoting cheaper technologies, which looks to us like picking winners. It makes us very nervous that technologies which are not yet mature, like PV cells, could miss out.
Whilst a scaling back of support is inevitable, it is vital that government has the foresight to retain crucial investments in infrastructure and technology demonstration that will enable the development of low carbon industries in the UK. Funding for the port infrastructure necessary to attract investment in wind turbine manufacturing and for carbon capture and storage demonstrators will be a barometer this commitment.
Greenpeace: The green investment bank
We need a green investment banks that has the mandate to fund clean energy and energy efficiency projects; is established through primary legislation to ensure accountability to the taxpayer; has the power raise money through the issue of bonds; is capitalised with at least £6bn from government.
Juliet Davenport, Good Energy (a 100% renewable energy supplier): Feed-in tariffs
We would like to see an unwavering commitment from Chris Huhne to maintain and support the government’s feed-in tariff incentive scheme. FITs could unlock significant investment and human capital into the renewable energy sector in the UK, and would support a sector that could revolutionise the energy landscape. Any uncertainty will be costly as investors will look for higher returns to counter the potential future government risk.
If you want to follow the full announcement live, log on to our Westminster blog where they will be covering it from 12.30.