Budget 2017 - What could the clean energy industry do with £2.3 billion investment?


By Chris Pritchett

Amidst some crumbs of innovation comfort for EVs and batteries (not unexpected following BEIS' industrial strategy), Phillip Hammond offered no encouragement to renewables, and crucially, declined to offer comfort on the business rates hike set to affect schools and community buildings with rooftop PV. Bad enough, but when he restated tax incentives that look to exceed the £2.3billion already spent to prop up the North Sea oil and gas industry, supporters of clean energy will no doubt feel more than a little hard done by. 

It would of course be naïve to look at the gas and oil support measures purely as an energy issue; it's a major employment sector, critical for Scotland's economy, and addressing the enormous decommissioning liabilities to encourage younger players to take on the fields has  some sensible objectives at its heart. What's lacking is balance, and the need to drive renewable generation to gradually and economically supplant fossil fuels.  

I'd also love to know what the renewables and smart energy industry would do with £2.3 billion investment...

The chancellor has used his budget to outline plans to help the North Sea oil and gas industry.Philip Hammond will investigate the use of tax incentives to make it easier for operators to sell oil and gas fields, helping to keep them productive for longer.A panel of experts will be set up to examine the issue. A discussion paper on how to help the industry will also be published, Mr Hammond told the Commons. The Treasury said the moves would further help a vital industry that meets around 50% of the UK's primary energy needs.
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