Carbon diary: UnGovernment unwinding green energy
The TUC was among the “coalition” of 22 green groups, green manufacturers and countryside bodies warning Chris Huhne against cutting subsidies for green electricity and heating as part of the government’s spending review. Their letter said a new air of uncertainty over government support, prompted by remarks from his Energy Minister, Charles Hendry, will jeopardise job creation, energy security and CO2 targets.
One of the co-signatories was Dave Sowden, CEO of Micropower Council, who tweeted recently, “Greenest Government Ever? Not for the UK microgeneration industry. Jobs lost, investors spooked. End of term report.”
Another was Sharp Energy Solutions Europe. In July they announced a “substantial” number of jobs will be created following a £30m expansion of its Wrexham factory. The firm plans to double production of solar cell modules at Llay, where 750 work, and it is hoped a new production line will be in place by December. But which Minister should they listen to?
A Telegraph interview with Charles Hendry (Minister with the energy to bat for Britain, 23 August) suggested that funding “may be slashed” for feed-in tariff technologies such as solar power and the forthcoming renewable heat incentive. Heat is responsible for 47% of UK emissions and 49% of UK energy demand. “No Government serious about climate change or energy security can ignore half the problem,” the coalition of letter writers said.
But this isn’t quite the impression that Energy Minister Greg Barker was anxious to create in his Times article on 1st September 2010: “The government also has a clear role to play to help create the right conditions which will allow these emerging industries that hold the promise of renewed growth and jobs to thrive and prosper….The ‘green economy’ is not just about the ability to produce clean energy, it’s also about growing the market for products that consume less energy…”
Ed Miliband weighed in behind the green lobby today, arguing that, “Clean energy cashback is a great way for people to generate their own electricity and contribute to tackling climate change. We introduced these schemes to make sure we rewarded home owners and communities who generate their own clean electricity because we want everyone to be able to play a part in the clean energy transition.”