The government’s next Autumn Statement needs to provide more clarity in its low carbon policies.
That’s the call from the nuclear and renewable industry regarding the Tory Administration’s Spending Review to be announced later this month.
The Nuclear Industry Association’s (NIA) CEO Tom Greatrex told ELN what the sector expects Theresa May’s government to clarify.
Speaking at the Energy Live 2016 conference in London last week he said: “What we want from the Autumn Statement is some clarity on where the government stands in relation to some big important things: carbon price floor, what happens with the Levy Control Framework beyond 2021 which will affect the entire sector and also the government’s previous intention in relation to small modular reactors and what they want to do about that.
“If not in the Autumn Statement then that needs to come quite soon afterwards because there are a number of individuals and companies interested in that but they need to know what the government appetite is.”
James Court, Head of Policy at the Renewable Energy Association (REA) said the sector wants to know the government’s plans for renewables.
He added: “For me at the moment the cheapest renewables, onshore wind and solar, are so far being blocked to market so for us we need to find a new route to market now. If it’s a CfD [Contracts for Difference] ‘one pot’ I think there will be a surprise about how competitive solar and wind are especially compared to some other technologies that are seeming to be favoured by government at the moment.
“If it’s not going to be through that route, then we need another way. I suppose things like enhanced capital allowances, issues with tax system, something that will incentivise businesses to start decarbonising.”
Mr Greatrex and Mr Court discussed nuclear and low carbon technologies at the conference.
The NIA’s CEO insisted the nuclear sector can now prove Hinkley is a good opportunity for the country’s energy system and the economy.
He went on: “In the short term there’s a lot of activity going on around Hinkley and the industry has got now a chance to prove what it says it wants to do, which is to deliver a project which will provide secure, reliable low carbon power as part of that future mix.”
Mr Court said Brexit has affected the finalisation of some green projects due to the uncertainty the decision to leave the EU has brought to the sector.
He said: “There can be a very easy route out of Brexit for renewables. If we stay inside the internal energy market, if all the rules and regulations that we’ve been accustomed to get brought over to the UK and then we have our own ability to change things that we want to, that would give businesses confidence.”
Earlier this week, the Government outlined plans for £580 million of funding for its CfD scheme.