One of the government’s flagship policies has suffered a “dramatic collapse”

16th May 2018 | Commercial Energy

A parliamentary committee has said government policy changes have caused a “dramatic … collapse” in investment: one which threatens to derail legally binding targets. The area which the committee was criticising the government about is clean energy and climate change targets.

The Environmental Audit Committee has released a report into clean energy. Called “Green finance: mobilising investment in clean energy and sustainable development,” it looks at investment in clean energy sources. The report, and the committee’s chair, Labour’s Mary Creagh, is highly critical of the government.

Flagship Policies

The report notes that: the latest figures for low-carbon energy investment show that there has been a “dramatic and worrying collapse” since 2015 that threatens the UK’s ability to meet its carbon budgets. In cash terms, investment in clean energy fell by 10% in 2016 and 56% in 2017. Annual investment in clean energy is now at its lowest since 2008.

It found that, among other things:

  • “The Government’s Clean Growth Strategy does not do enough to meet legally binding climate change targets, even if all its policies are delivered in full”
  • “The privatisation of the Green Investment Bank” and changes due to Brexit “may also have played a part in the fall in investment”
  • “Ministers should find new ways to support councils to mobilise investment in low carbon projects”
  • “The falling cost of generating electricity from wind and solar power means that we can now secure clean energy capacity at lower prices, which may have cushioned the impact of the fall in cash investment”.

The committee says that the “collapse in clean energy investment” was also due to the following specific policy changes in 2015:

  • Stopping new onshore wind farms from being built
  • Removing tax breaks for companies generating electricity from renewable sources
  • Cancelling the Zero Carbon Homes policy and the £1bn Carbon Capture & Storage competition.

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