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Warning on government policies

Weak green signals cause investors to shun renewables, says CBI

John Cridland freeBusiness leaders are warning the UK government that its green energy policies are sending the wrong signals to investors and are inconsistent with its climate change targets.

John Cridland, director general of the CBI  said firms require “clear and consistent” signals and has criticised minister for cutting subsidies.

The government has brought forward a decision to withdraw the renewables obligation to spring, a year earlier than planned.

Ministers insist they are committed to protecting the climate and will unveil new policies in the coming weeks.

But Mr Cridland said greater clarity and certainty is required: “We need all countries to pull in the same direction at the Paris Climate Summit (in November) to give firms the certainty and confidence they need to invest in the green economy for the long run,” he said.

Critics are complaining that recent tax changes will deter investors.

The Chancellor George Osborne imposed a £3.9 billion carbon tax – the Climate Change Levy – on wind and solar power and biogas, which emit no net carbon.

Scotland has seen a number of projects scaled down or abandoned since the government announced the withdrawal of the wind far subsidy.

Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “The UK Government is clearly committed to meeting our climate change targets, but that will require further growth of all forms of renewable energy. That is being undermined by the lack of a clear route to market, with every part of the sector wrestling with a huge amount of uncertainty.

“Less established technologies like offshore wind and renewable heat will require financial support for some time, just like nuclear and carbon capture and storage, but larger scale onshore wind and solar projects could actually compete with new gas plants if they are able to continue to access long term contracts for clean power.

“That would ensure the fastest possible progress on cleaning up the energy sector at the lowest costs to consumer – the government’s main objective in the run up to the Paris climate change talks later this year.

“With wind and solar now significantly cheaper than new nuclear power, and with costs set to fall further if we can give longer term certainty, it makes no sense to leave them as the only form of electricity generation without any form of public support.”

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