The greener of two evils

Last week saw the government u turn on its proposal to drop support for small scale renewable technologies under its Renewables Obligation (RO).

It looked at excluding new small scale solar, anaerobic digestion, onshore wind and hydro power installations of between 50kW and 5MW from the RO from 1 April 2013 as part of its review of support for renewable electricity between 2013-17.

To the dismay of those wanting to carry out renewable projects, it would have meant that the RO would support renewables over 5MW, with Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) being aimed at those who invest in solar, small scale wind, anaerobic digestion and hydro power projects under 5MW in size.

Businesses have obviously let out a sigh of relief over the decision but has this done enough to keep the green vote?

On Wednesday, Ed Miliband was chastised by the green sector for his failure to address environmental issues in his conference speech, only to reassure them a day later by addressing the matter and its importance.

A consistent theme for the green sector has been the lack of clarity from the government in addressing these issues, making it considerably difficult to pin down where they stand in the fight to reduce carbon emissions and save energy while helping business.

With the elections still in the distance, it’s hard to see who those in the green sector will side with. The chancellor has at times shown little remorse for renewable energy and insisted that gas power should remain a dominant part of the UK’s energy mix for the next 28 years.

From this, the phrase ‘the lesser of two evils’ comes to mind and you would think Labour would be jumping on the back of the coalition’s lack of support for the green sector, trying to gather up as many votes as possible.

Stabilising the economy is high up on MP’s and the public’s agendas and this has, at times, dealt the energy sector a poor hand. However, awareness that the two can indeed go hand in hand is beginning to rise and if this momentum continues, with the help of the government, environmental issues will start to jump up businesses agendas.

Who is winning the hearts and votes of the green sector? Let us know what you think.

Leigh Stringer

Topics: Energy efficiency & low-carbon
Tags: anaerobic digestion | FITs | gas | hydro power | onshore wind | renewables | solar
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