"The government's approach since the election has been dominated by a series of cuts to renewable support schemes,”... "The government is right to push the industry hard on costs but that needs also in my view to be combined with a clear long term policy commitment to the industry and that is where the government is failing. Government is always tactical but you also have to be strategic, you have to have a clear sighted view of end goals and objectives and keep powering towards them” said Lord Mandelson and, putting political persuasion aside, he is right.
The Government should set a clear pathway for the renewable energy industry and that does not necessarily mean more subsidies. The industry, in particular the solar industry, has proven to be remarkably resilient to the changes and it is already looking at the next opportunity – whether this is combined deployment with energy storage, installation of solar modules at carports, electricity charging points.
The government has recently committed £50 million for innovation in energy storage, demand side response and other smart technologies between 2016 – 2021 (see Budget 2016) and this is a step in the right direction. But is this enough or just a token fob off? Without a stable framework for participants to operate within then spending money on innovation is not going to solve the huge problem of deployment and convincing investors that their precious money is not at risk of political change.
The UK is at risk of missing out on the economic opportunities presented the global shift towards low carbon technologies, according to new analysis by six of the UK’s development and environment organisations. Speaking at this morning’s launch of a report jointly produced by Cafod, Christian Aid, Green Alliance, Greenpeace, RSPB and WWF, Labour peer Lord Mandelson added his voice to its conclusions, claiming the government is failing to provide long-term policy.