Budget 2018: the industry responds

Will Gardiner, chief executive, Drax Group:

“I strongly support the Chancellor’s decision to strengthen the total carbon price until at least 2021 – it provides investors with certainty and is a critical factor in ensuring an end to the use of coal in the power system, helping us to further decarbonise cost-effectively and cementing the UK’s leading role in tackling climate change. We welcome the government’s acknowledgment that the carbon price must remain high enough to keep coal off the UK system beyond 2021 the carbon price should be set at the right level to prevent a resurgence in coal generation before 2025.”

 

Nick Molho, executive director, Aldersgate Group: 

“Today’s budget – and the way in which it was presented – did little to match the commitment to clean growth the government showed during Green GB Week. The creation of an industrial energy transformation fund is welcome and targets public funding at an essential part of the economy that needs support to cut its emissions, but it would be made even more effective if combined with measures to support a renewed roll-out of onshore renewable energy to lower power prices for industry…

“It is essential that the government backs its commitment to clean growth in the next Spending Review and upcoming legislation. Priorities should include introducing new regulations and fiscal incentives to accelerate energy efficiency investments in domestic and commercial buildings, accelerating the phase out of polluting vehicles and roll out of electric vehicles, providing clear visibility to investors on carbon pricing and introducing an ambitious Environment Bill with legally binding goals that drives improvements in the natural environment.”

 

Maria Connolly, partner and head of clean energy, TLT:

“Given the climate change imperative and the latest warnings from the IPCC … many will view this Budget as a missed opportunity to provide additional support and further accelerate the UK’s transition into a clean energy economy.

“While growth in clean energy continues, with the most recent energy statistics demonstrating that clean and renewable sources generated a record 29.3% of total UK electricity, there is now a shift in terms of focus with new developments being pursued on a subsidy-free basis as well as new technologies such as battery storage, gas peaking and EV charging infrastructure. Going forward, investors may diversify their investments in clean energy to focus on these new technologies using a mix of renewable sources. This in itself could lead to fresh opportunities, but further government initiatives could have possibly amplified these opportunities.”

 

Oliver Rix, partner in energy & resources, Baringa Partners:

“The lack of any announcements in today’s Budget aimed at supporting the uptake of electric vehicles, is incredibly disappointing. Last week, the government scrapped its grant for plug-in hybrids, which was an essential support for both consumers and the motor industry in the early stages of the transition…

“However, the government does face a challenge. If EV uptake continued on par with the pathway the Committee on Climate Change has indicated would be in line with future carbon budgets, sales would reach around 250,000 by 2020 – which based on current grants would represent a subsidy cost of up to £780 million that year. Further, whilst plug in hybrids have short term benefits in alleviating range and re-charging issues whilst getting zero emission-capable vehicles on the road, it is right that the long term trajectory focuses on 100% electric vehicles as range, charging infrastructure and model availability improve.

“…Electric car uptake had been one of the key success stories of the UK’s Road to Zero ambitions, but removing the grant could put electric cars beyond the reach of consumers. We urge the government to review its policies on electric vehicles, as its current stance risks putting uptake in reverse.”

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