IPPR think tank urges clarity over green policies

Wind farm off the coast of Kent Some campaigners say the spread of wind farms has blighted the countryside

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Ministers must send clear signals that they believe in new forms of green technology if they want companies to invest in them, a think tank has said.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said the government had been blowing "hot and cold" on its commitment to cut carbon emissions.

That caution had made the energy sector jittery about investing, it concluded.

The government said its proposed Energy Bill would provide "certainty" for investors in the electricity market.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said last month climate change goals could be met by banishing coal and gas in the 2030s.

But launching the draft Energy Bill, the government said it wanted to retain flexibility on the target date.

It had previously indicated it could make energy clean within two decades.


IPPR research fellow Reg Plant said: "An ambitious decarbonisation policy offers a route to long-term sustainable economic growth, and productive British businesses.

"But businesses need to know the government will provide consistent support for their investments.

"And at the moment ministers blow hot and cold on their commitment to a green future."

The IPPR said there were "mixed signals" because the government initially promised ambitious targets before seeming to waver about their effect on the economy.

It also said the Treasury should ditch plans to introduce a "carbon floor price" - a green energy tax setting a minimum price for greenhouse gases.

Mr Davey has said the scheme would encourage companies to develop more green technologies, but critics argue the tax would be passed on to consumers.

'Best deal'

A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman said: "The government is proposing to reform the electricity market and give certainty to investors with the Energy Bill and revolutionise the energy efficiency of millions of homes and business across the UK through the Green Deal.

"This approach will deliver the best deal for Britain and for consumers, cutting energy waste and helping get us off the hook of relying on imported oil and gas by creating a greener, cleaner and ultimately cheaper mix of electricity sources right here in the UK."

The IPPR report comes amid lobbying from environmental campaigners to cut subsidies to onshore wind farms further.

They argue their spread across the UK has been a blight on the countryside.

Mr Davey has already indicated the government wants to cut wind farm subsidies by about 10%.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said the growth of renewable energy is vital for the British economy.

He has promised to lead the "greenest government ever".


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  • rate this

    Comment number 446.

    the problem with tidel power is that its still fairly experemental. it requires futher research and development before its ready for commercial use and even then delicate equipment built to go out to sea tends to have a rather short service life. cutting back on power consumption isnt much of a solution either due to the increasing proliferation of high tech gadgets.

  • rate this

    Comment number 367.

    Any combination of renewable's which will free us from dependence upon others should be rigorously pursued with a majority stake holding kept in the hands of the government.
    We are an Island nation and thus perfectly suited to take advantage of all renewable sources this must become a priority for us.
    The more we produce the more we could start to export which will help with the deficit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 270.

    People will not use renewables in thir homes until the price comes way down at the moment for me it would be cheaper to get tonnes of coal, oil or gas to power my house then solar or wind and also how good is wind if a turbine is on your chimney your chimney will come off, costing you a lot of money to repair the damage. Wind no good, solar to expensive, hydro no good if you dont live near water.

  • rate this

    Comment number 265.

    Politicians like windmills because people can see them pop up. The truth is they capture a laughably small amount of energy. Solar power requires loads of precious minerals which, in it's own, causes severe problems. Tidal power is, and always has been, the only viable green energy source (except nuclear but 'green' people have decided to hate it incase we get a spontanious 8M earthquake)

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.

    No doubt the Govt is happy to see the debate focused on such a narrow bit of 'green policy' as windfarms. There are much bigger issues emerging such as the destruction of the oceans, the environmental impact of increased mineral extraction, dwindling water supplies and overpopulation. To deal with these issues would involve the genuinely unpopular decisions that politicians avoid like the plague.


Comments 5 of 13


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