UK investors urge government to support renewables

Investors in the UK are calling on the government to increase support for renewable energy in the country. A total of 13 investors have written to Chancellor George Osborne following […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Investors in the UK are calling on the government to increase support for renewable energy in the country.

A total of 13 investors have written to Chancellor George Osborne following a number of subsidy cuts in the green sector.

The letter, co-ordinated by the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF), highlights concerns over future investment in renewable energy as a result of “unsupportive” government policy.

The Climate Change Levy exemption for renewable power has been removed and the government is also considering cuts to solar subsidies. Earlier this year it also announced support for onshore wind would be scrapped from April next year.

Signatories include Triodos Bank’s Managing Director Charles Middleton, CEO of Ecology Building Society Paul Ellis and Julia Groves, CEO of Trillion Fund.

The letter focuses on the benefits of renewable energy to the UK, including increasing energy security, reinforcement of the electricity network and the benefits to consumers.

It states: “Recent announcements in relation to renewable power have raised questions about the financial security of past UK energy investment. By threatening previously secure cash-flows several of these announcements have a quasi-retrospective element which will raise concerns particularly for low-cost capital and risk compromising further UK energy investment.”

It highlights the importance of it with the Paris COP21 conference at the end of the year when new measures will be agreed to tackle climate change.

Simon Howard, UKSIF Chief Executive said: “We believe the government should be doing more. The UK already has its own commitments under the Climate Change Act and it is very likely there will be agreement on a new package of measures to tackle climate change in December. In meeting those commitments the Government will need to rely on the private sector to finance low carbon energy infrastructure. These changes will highlight the short-term nature of the policy regime and will do nothing to instil confidence towards future investment.”

A government spokesperson added: “It is this government’s priority to keep bills as low as possible for hardworking families and businesses while reducing our emissions in the most cost-effective way.

“Our support has already driven down the cost of renewable energy significantly. As costs continue to fall it becomes easier for parts of the renewables industry to survive without subsidies.”