Renewable energy prospects post-election

Gordon Moran, writing for the European Energy Centre (EEC), forecasts the new UK majority government’s agenda for the renewable energy industry

A lot has been said about the newly elected UK government, with feverish speculation as to which party or parties might form the next administration. This has led to some anxiety in the renewables industry over what this might mean in terms of government support and funding. Now that the dust has settled and a new government has taken office, we can begin to see the sorts of policies it looks set to prioritise.

The Conservative party have had a mixed record on environmental matters but support the UK’s current commitments to reduce carbon emissions, including the use of renewable energy technologies. Though the new government is strongly supportive of conventional hydrocarbon energy production and potential new sources such as fracking, they have also shown keen interest in supporting low carbon options such as tidal lagoon technology. The one clearly negative commitment from the new government is to completely remove the subsidy for onshore wind power, the most cost effective form of low carbon energy generation.

However, there are a number of mitigating factors that make this less likely to happen than may immediately be apparent. The Conservatives have a relatively slim majority, making it harder to pass legislation that does not have cross party support. This, combined with calls from the Scottish National Party for consultation before the removal of any subsidies, may well lead to the government watering down its proposals or at least providing a framework for funding at a regional level.

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