George Osborne reiterated today the UK government’s “determination to be the greenest government ever”. But given what we already knew, most of the new information contained in Wednesday’s Budget seems to be set against that agenda.
Let’s take the measures one-by-one:
1) CCS support. We already knew that £1bn was pledged for round one. The new information in the Budget is that round two will be funded largely by the carbon floor price.
But as Mr Osborne himself admitted, this won’t be enough (at least at the level it has been set) on its own. Further money will be required from general taxation, which leaves second round CCS projects fighting alongside everything else for a rapidly diminishing pool of government spending.
There have already been some noises off between the UK government and the green energy industry over the green investment bank, the government’s proposed investment vehicle for funding clean energy projects. Apart from anything, many in the sector simply don’t think the £1bn promised by Chris Huhne, the energy secretary, is enough.
But another faultline opened up today at a briefing attended by both Sam Laidlaw, the chief executive of Centrica (pictured), and Huhne himself. Specifically, the pair seemed to be at odds over whether the green investment bank could be used to fund energy efficiency initiatives.
The chancellor has stopped speaking and the figures are in. But did the experts to whom this blog spoke earlier get what they wanted? Here are their responses.
George Osborne did not spend much time talking about the energy industry today, but the spending review contained some important new figures and policies. Here, then is the spending review – as far as it effects the energy industry – in numbers.
The amount to be spent on the UK’s CCS demonstration.
To be spent on developing new green technology, including offshore wind and developing port infrastructure.
To be spent on funding the green investment bank.
Average yearly fall in the DECC budget.
Average yearly fall in the Defra budget.
The amount being spent on the renewable heat incentive over the next four years.
The fall in feed-in tariffs planned for 2012 – the same as planned by the previous government.
The green investment bank was never likely to be scrapped entirely in today’s CSR, but George Osborne’s announcement that it will receive only £1bn will dismay many environmentalists. As Greenpeace wrote for this blog, they wanted to see the bank receive at least £6bn.
Even yesterday, it was being reported that the bank would receive £2bn, so this will come as a major disappointment for green campaigners*.
You can follow live coverage of the spending review here.
* Although I am told that the extra money that will be raised for the GIB from government asset sales could reach £1bn, so that would explain the £2bn figure.
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:
Chris Huhne sped from his cabinet meeting this morning to address the European Future Energy Forum to send the message to investors that Britain is open for green business.
But will his warm words for the renewables industry and promises of solid government support mean much in tomorrow’s spending review? Not if a report in today’s Guardian is to be believed.