The director-general of the CBI has today warned the UK government about sending out ‘mixed messages’ on renewable energy following a plethora of new rules on green-energy subsidies.
The warning from John Cridland also comes as the Paris climate-change summit looms closer on the horizon.
Speaking alongside former US Vice-President Al Gore, Cridland argued that certainty and clarity of direction are critical to developing long-term business investment in a low-carbon future.
He also highlighted the need to keep up momentum on reaching a global solution by building on the UK’s hard-won credibility as a climate leader.
He said: “Business must be – and wants to be – part of the solution to tackling the global challenge of climate change.
“The green economy is an emerging market in its own right, brimming with opportunity, and the UK has built up real credibility on climate leadership and low carbon investment.
“Yet, with the roll-back of renewables policies and the mixed messages on energy efficiency, the government risks sending a worrying signal to businesses.
“We need all countries to pull in the same direction at the Paris Summit to give firms the certainty and confidence they need to invest in the green economy for the long run. Politicians and negotiators should be confident that business is behind them in securing a lasting climate deal.”
Callum McCaig MP, the SNP Westminster spokesperson on Energy and Climate Change (pictured, left) added: “The UK Government must listen to calls from Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and ensure a fair grace period for onshore wind developments that are being hit by plans to close the Renewables Obligation a year early.
“Failure to do so will mean many projects which have already had considerable investment, and which can help improve energy security, support jobs and businesses, and reduce carbon emissions will instead end up being cancelled.
“Scotland has shown itself to be a world leader in a range of renewable technologies which are a vital part of our energy supply, help the environment and create jobs in communities across Scotland – and this excellent progress must not be put at risk by the reckless approach of a Tory government with scant regard for Scotland’s interests.”
As reported by Scottish Energy News last week, the UK has dropped out of the world Top Ten countries regarded as being ‘investor-attractive’ for renewables. Where Scottish Energy News leads, MPs follow; see: Britain drops out of World Top 10 investor-attractive renewable energy markets – http://goo.gl/w3YhgE
Paul McCullagh, Chief Executive of a leading Scottish renewables company – Urban Wind – commented: “By undermining any faith that this growing, successful industry will receive the support it deserves from Government, they have put at risk the incredible progress made in closing the gap with fossil fuels.
“On entering office as the Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd spoke about how important it was to secure a binding carbon agreement in the Paris talks later this year. This now seems like nothing but lip service.”
Juliet Davenport, Chief Executive of the 100% renewable energy company Good Energy, commented: “With a record-breaking 22% of the UK’s electricity coming from renewable sources at the start of 2015, Britain has seen significant strides in the right direction.
“However, recent changes in policy feel like a backwards step, and there is a need for a clear policy framework for the future to ensure that businesses are able to play a their role in delivering solutions.”
A spokeswoman for Scottish Renewables said: “The UK Government is clearly committed to meeting our climate change targets but that will require further growth of all forms of renewable energy. That is being undermined by the lack of a clear route to market, with every part of the sector wrestling with a huge amount of uncertainty.
“Less established technologies like offshore wind and renewable heat will require financial support for some time, just like nuclear and carbon capture and storage, but larger scale onshore wind and solar projects could actually compete with new gas plants if they are able to continue to access long term contracts for clean power. That would ensure the fastest possible progress on cleaning up the energy sector at the lowest costs to consumer – the government’s main objective in the run up to the Paris climate change talks later this year.
“With wind and solar now significantly cheaper than new nuclear power, and with costs set to fall further if we can give longer term certainty, it makes no sense to leave them as the only form of electricity generation without any form of public support.”