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The prime minister has insisted that there is no planned change to UK wind farm policy.
The PM was forced to confirm the Tory position as Labour leader Ed Miliband put David Cameron in the spotlight on the government’s energy policy.
The exchange followed further coalition conflict involving Conservative Minister John Hayes and Lib – Dem Energy Minister Ed Davey. Hayes was reported as saying the UK had ‘enough wind farms’ in the national press over the weekend. He is, according to the press, keen to implement a moratorium on onshore wind energy.Read: PM Says No Change to Wind Farm Policy
“Substantially higher energy prices” are the words on every news station further to the release of the draft energy bill earlier this week”.
The government published the bill with the intent of dramatic energy market reform. Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey said:
“The draft Bill includes measures necessary to reform the electricity market to deliver secure, clean and affordable electricity.”
One of the key objectives of the Bill is to secure a sustainable supply of energy for the UK by creating policy which will encourage £100 billion investment into nuclear plants and renewable energy.Read: UK Draft Energy Bill published
Chris Huhne, energy secretary, has taken another step to undermine the solar industry in seeking to appeal to the Supreme Court to defend his feed in tariff cuts. The saga of the cuts started back in October when Chris Huhne first proposed that the rate that home-owners received for their excess energy should be halved. Although the industry accepted that the price of panels had significantly reduced and therefore profits were higher than expected, the proposal to backdate the cuts before the end of the consultation period was the real bugbear. Solar companies, HomeSun and SolarCentury along with Friends of the Earth, decided to take the Government to court and quickly won their case. Since then the Government has been appealing the decision.Read: Huhne Keeps Solar Industry in Limbo
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released two reports detailing the country’s ocean wave and tidal resource energy potential. Mapping and Assessment of the United States Ocean Wave Energy Resource report is a follow-up to the Electric Power Research Institute’s (EPRI) 2004 study, with the most recent evidence suggesting a 26 percent increase in wave energy resources.
The Assessment of Energy Production Potential from Tidal Streams in the United States, led by researchers at Georgia Tech Research Corporation in collaboration with DOE, is the first of its kind in the U.S. and includes a geographic information systems (GIS) tool available for public use. The report data concludes that U.S. water power resources, including ocean wave, tidal and conventional hydropower, have the potential to provide 15 percent of the U.S’s electricity by 2030.Read: Major potential for wave and tidal energy near Alaska & Hawaii
The government’s decision to contest the ruling that their plans to slash solar subsidies are illegal has sent the solar PV industry back into turmoil. Solar PV businesses have warned that this latest appeal will cost jobs and potentially risk businesses failing as they simply cannot tell their customers what their return would be.
An executive from Spirit Solar, Erica Robb, challenged David Cameron at a small business event today over the “weeks of chaos” that have resulted from the government’s proposals to cut feed-in tariff incentives for solar installations.Read: Confusion Reigns over Solar Subsidies
Friends of the Earth openly criticised the government and the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) over its lack of consultation on its National Policy Statements (NPS) at a conference in London this morning.
Naomi Thompson – Planning and Policy Advisor for FOE said the NPS’s should tie into climate change objectives and carbon budgets. Naomi was concerned that two incinerator proposals had been consented by the IPC without credible carbon capture infrastructure proposals.Read: Friends of the Earth Criticise Government over lack of Consultation
In last week’s speech to Renewable UK’s annual conference, Chris Huhne praised the renewable energy industry for its ongoing contribution to the British economy. In a response to the naysayers, he addressed the topics of investment, capacity, popularity and job creation.Read: Renewable Energy Technologies will Deliver a 3rd Industrial Revolution
RenewableUK, the UK’s largest renewable energy trade association, has welcomed the Government’s commitment to boost financial support for wave and tidal projects. However, RenewableUK is urging caution over the Government’s plans to downgrade the level of financial support it provides for onshore wind from 2013 onwards, and offshore wind from 2015.
RenewableUK’s key considerations in response to the latest Government plans are:
- RenewableUK welcome the boost in financial support for wave and tidal energy projects
- The Renewables industry is already working with government to ensure cost reductions
- Cuts in support for wind industry will have impact on deployment
The Government today published a new Electricity White Paper and a Roadmap for Renewables to 2020.
The Electricity Market Reform White Paper sets out measures to attract investment, reduce the impact on consumer bills, and create a mix of electricity sources including gas, new nuclear, renewable energy and carbon capture and storage.
The Renewables Roadmap published alongside this outlines a plan of action to accelerate renewable energy deployment to meet the target of 15% of all energy by 2020.
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne said:Read: UK Government Publishes Electricity White Paper and Renewables Roadmap
The new UK Localism Bill was launched by the Department of Communities and Local Government today.
The primary aim of the Localism Bill is to devolve power to local councils, neighbourhoods and elected mayors.
The reforms include a new right of local people to challenge their local councils – to take over services, a new right to bid to buy local assets such as libraries, pubs and shops and a new right to veto excessive council tax rises through a referendum.
At the same time however, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced council budget reductions of around 10% telling authorities to share services or outsource.
Pickles said:Read: UK Localism Bill Launched
A leading development company has accused Eric Pickles of abusing his powers in the High Court.
According to Planning Magazine, Peter Village QC acting for housebuilder CALA accused the communities secretary of unlawfully ditching the plans and striking “at the heart of parliamentary democracy“.
Last month CALA homes launched the challenge against the Government’s decision to scrap regional plans….Read: Pickles Accused of Abusing Power
Tory Planning Policies and Lib Dem Renewable Policies just don’t add up according to former energy and climate change minister Ed Miliband.
Speaking during a House of Commons debate, Mr Miliband criticised the coalition government saying that their renewables policy doesn’t yet add up because they have Lib Dem targets with Conservative planning policy. He also said their nuclear policy doesn’t add up because they have three positions.Read: Coalition Renewable Energy Problems Start to Emerge
The Queen announced in her parliamentary opening speech today a number of new bills, including a ‘Decentrilisation and Localism Bill’ and an ‘Energy and Green Economy Bill’.
The Energy and Green Economy Bill is expected to encourage improved energy efficiency and the introduction of smart meters throughout the country. The new bill will promote low carbon energy production in England and Wales with the possibility of some areas of the bill applying to Scotland too.
Legislation will be put in place to facilitate green home loans, however uncertainties surround the future of renewable energy incentives and control over power station emissions.Read: New Planning and Low Carbon Energy Bills Announced in Queen’s Speech
The Green Party has asked Lib Dem voters not happy with Nick Clegg joining forces with the Tories to talk to the Greens instead.
Green Party MSP Patrick Harvie said “Lib Dem members and supporters did not work hard over the last weeks and months to see their party become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Tories“. He said the Liberal Conservative coalition decision “will be the death-knell for the Lib Dems here in Scotland“.Read: Green Party Set to Gather Disaffected Lib Dems
In the face of the first UK hung parliament since 1974, the media has been dominated by talks of what happens next.
A potential Conservative/ Lib Dem coalition has to date been the most discussed. We know however that the Conservatives and the Lib Dems have major policy differences on electoral reform, the economy and immigration.
Overall the Lib Dems appear to have more in common with Labour – from the timing of public spending cuts to electoral reform and creating a green economy. With the major Lib-Lab differences limited to ID cards and immigration, the match looks much cleaner. Labour however did poorly in the election and even with Gordon Brown offering to resign it looks like a deal with the Conservatives is the more realistic option on the table.
So -if the Conservatives and the Lib Dems do manage somehow to overcome their differences – what would be the outcome for UK energy policy?Read: What Could the UK Election Results Mean for future Energy Policy?
Labour and Liberal Democrat energy representatives Ed Miliband and Simon Hughes joined forces to put Tory climate change sceptics in the spotlight this week.Read: Labour & Lib Dems Put Spotlight on Conservative Climate Sceptics
Despite their campaigning as the ‘new green’ party at the beginnning of the year, the Conservatives have come out the least green in a new survey released this week. The RenewableUK survey carried out by ComRes shows that over half this year’s prospective Conservative MPs disagree with current renewable energy targets.
With election campaigning in full flow, all the main UK political parties are desperate to show off their green credentials. Voters however want to know whether politicians are serious about tackling climate change or merely pushing for a bit of rooftop solar panel or wind turbine tokenism. The ComRes survey of 101 prospective MPs gives us an idea as to which really is the greenest party of them all.
All of the main partys’ manifestos say that they support the current UK 15% renewable energy target by 2020 however this is not reflected by all prospective MPs seeking a seat. The new survey reveals that 54% prospective Conservative MPs disagree with our current renewable energy targets with only 22% strongly supporting them.Read: Over 50% of Conservative MPs don’t agree with Renewable Energy Targets
The key English political parties have now launched their manifestos in advance of the elections on May 6th.
All parties commit to a substantial proportion of the UK’s energy coming from renewable sources in the near future; however the details of measures to facilitate this move are not yet clear.
Labour’s ‘Future Fair for All‘ manifesto says the party would create 400,000 green collar jobsRead: UK Political Party Manifestos Commit to Renewable Energy
The Conservatives want to put in place an offshore wind energy grid and “take the poison out of onshore wind” according to their energy policy released this week.
Shadow Prime Minister David Cameron says the Conservative policy paper “Rebuilding Security” sets out the party’s would-be programme for a reform of British energy policy. They say their policy would facilitate action to combat the looming collapse in energy supply from 2013-2017 and 12 action points are outlined.
To encourage renewable energy, the Conservatives say:Read: Conservative Energy Policy Goes Live
Wind energy companies don’t like spatial planning. They have been warning UK government decision makers against the strategic allocation of renewable energy sites for years. The key reasons for this stance are a) the risk of completely unsuitable areas being allocated for a particular renewable energy technology and b) a whole host of potentially suitable areas being sterilised uneccessarily because they have not been allocated as appropriate for a particular renewable energy technology. Renewable energy technology requirements change fast according to technological and commercial parameters.
Sterilising effects have been experienced in practice where local planning authorities have commissioned studies of their own areas and then gone on to identify green ‘go’ and red ‘no go’ areas. The sterilisation of these areas will in turn have a further impact on already failing moves towards meeting renewable energy targets.
Some national organisations are however pushing for strategic identification of renewable energy sites such as those for wind farms. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) produced a joint statement with the National Trust last year promoting the spatial planning approach. They are still peddling this approach with RSPB representatives telling the Energy and Climate Change Committee earlier this month that the government’s new national policy statements (NPS) should include spatial guidelines for renewable energy development.Read: Middle England Groups and Wind Energy Companies Disagree over Spatial Planning