An overwhelming majority of the public in the UK approve of the government providing financial support for renewable energy technologies, according to a new survey. The YouGov poll for the Sunday Times found support from across the political spectrum, with Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem and UKIP voters all agreeing that the government should continue investing in low-carbon technologies.
The survey found 65% of respondents in favour of government spending money for wind power, while 76% said the same for tidal energy and 78% backed financial support for solar. In comparison, only 49% approved of public financial support for nuclear, 57% for clean coal and just 40% said the government should provide support for shale gas. 47% of respondents considered shale gas projects as damaging to the environment.
Despite this, Chancellor George Osborne recently revealed tax breaks for the fracking industry, with a 30% tax rate for onshore shale gas production, much lower than oil taxes. Osborne called his new tax regime “the most generous for shale in the world”.
Investors and potential investors in onshore wind energy in the UK can breathe a sigh of relief today after the government agreed to cut subsidies by 10% from April 2013, and not 25% as was previously feared.
“Renewable energy will create a multibillion-pound boom for the British economy, driving growth and supporting jobs across the country. The support we’re setting out today will unlock investment decisions, help ensure that rapid growth in renewable energy continues and show the key role of renewables for our energy security”, Ed Davey, UK Energy Secretary, said.
Opening session at EWEA 2012
Neil Jeffery, CEO of Renewable World – EWEA’s chosen charity – shares his thoughts on the EWEA Annual Event in Copenhagen in April and on how renewable energy can bring affordable electricity to some of the world’s poorer regions…
The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) 2012 Annual Event was an inspiring week, reminding me how much more we can potentially achieve to bring affordable energy to the poorest on the planet far and how far Renewable World has come as a successful and growing organisation.
Sitting in one of the conference sessions watching the simple and clear graphics designed by the EWEA team that explained how the world needs constant innovation and pioneers to drive forward positive change, I was reminded of the critical role of dedicated, hardworking and visionary individuals to push forward the creation of appropriate responses to critical global challenges.
If you think the UK media report mostly anti-wind stories you could be right. But news just out could help to stem the flow of wind power criticism. Wind farms generate millions for the economy and create thousands of jobs, a new UK government-backed study has found.
The study followed the fortunes of 18 wind farms and found that communities around those farms received around £84 million (€104 million) in 2011, with 1,100 local jobs supported. BiGGAR Economics, an independent UK consultancy and author of the study, said that in total Britain’s onshore wind farms supported 8,600 jobs and were worth £548 million (€680 million) to the UK economy last year.
Rhyl windfarm, Envirodata-Eryri.co.uk
Offshore wind energy has hit the headlines recently, nowhere more so than the UK which recently passed the 1GW threshold. This capacity, according to RenewableUK, a wind and marine renewables industry association, means offshore wind can now keep the lights ablaze in more than 700,000 UK homes.
The 1GW level was reached as Dong Energy’s Gunfleet Sands, and E.ON’s Robin Rigg offshore parks were completed. These two farms add to the UK’s portfolio of 11 offshore wind farms dotted around the shores of the country from North Wales to the North East tip of Scotland.
This is an impressive rate of growth given that in 2000 the UK had just two experimental offshore turbines. RenewableUK says that the country is one of the world’s most promising markets for offshore wind power generation since it has good wind conditions and supportive legislation. Maria McCaffery, RenewableUK Chief Executive, says the UK offshore sector is “world leading”, adding that, “in the first quarter of this year alone half a billion pounds of private investment has been invested directly into offshore wind.”
However, the association has recently criticised the UK planning system saying that the amount of time it takes for a wind farm to be approved – approximately 27 months – is a waiting period that costs developers huge amounts of money.
“27 months is nearly two and a half years”, spokesperson Nick Medic said. That wait leaves, “millions of investment locked in the planning system,” he added, reported by Business Green.
One thing is sure: with some 4GW of offshore wind farms currently under construction or with planning consent, there will be no let up in the expansion of offshore wind in the UK.