Friday, 5 March 2010

Budget wishlist for renewables

Industry group RenewableUK (formely the BWEA) has released a Budget Submission to UK Treasury (pdf 1mb) outlining the government support that the renewables industry wants to see - more money in a range of targeted programmes, basically.

The headline demand is a further £200-300m over two or three years to invest in facilities and technologies for offshore wind and tidal power. Also on the wishlist are tax breaks for manufacturers; a capital grant programme; longer-term support for marine renewables of up to £120m pa plus higher banding under the Renewables Obligation; and £45m to help solve aviation-related objections to wind developments. All worthy stuff, but I'd be surprised if its gets more than a nodding acknowledgement come red box time.

The paper also puts the case for a new public institution to support construction finance for renewables and encourage more private investment. Another VC-style initiative will not be sufficient, it notes:
It has been suggested that early-stage venture capital for entrepreneurial start-ups should be the focus of a public finance institution, but we do not see this as being an issue for wind power: the deployment of wind onshore and offshore over the next decade will require something in the order of £100bn of capital, and this dwar fs into insignificance the amounts that will be needed to develop technologies and the companies that produce them. This is not to say that VC-type funding will not be helpful: firms in the marine renewable and small wind sectors may well benefit greatly; innovation funds to bring forward cost-reducing techniques for offshore wind are also needed. But these other needs are orders of magnitude less than the requirement for mass deployment.

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