Renewable energy rules putting off investors say businesses

A consortium of leading businesses and NGOs has hit out at government regulations on renewable energy generation saying they are discouraging investment in this field.

The Aldersgate Group, whose membership includes corporate giants such as BT, Ikea and Microsoft, says that the Government’s carbon reporting rules are undermining the business case for on-site renewable energy projects.

In an open letter to Joan Ruddock, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, it says inconsistencies arising from Defra’s Best Practice Voluntary Reporting Guidelines and the Carbon Reduction Commitment, as well as other incentives administered by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, are creating barriers.

Peter Young, Chairman of the Aldersgate Group and author of the letter, said: “Businesses are questioning the rationale of investments in green energy if they must surrender either the subsidy or the green benefit.

“The letter today not only shows the magnitude of concern amongst leaders of British industry, but also puts forward a number of solutions that address legitimate Government concerns over double counting.”

Richard Brown, chief executive of Aldersgate member Eurostar, said: “Business needs reporting guidelines that provide incentives and recognition for reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

“Companies that operate across international borders cannot make investment decisions based on conflicting reporting regimes, or report differently in different countries without causing confusion in the eyes of stakeholders, staff and customers alike.

“It would also be a huge mistake to neuter the potential influence that large customers can have on the electricity generation industry.”

Gary Freedman, head of business at Ecotricity, which have built the majority of the UK’s onsite wind turbines for companies such as Sainsbury’s, Ford, B&Q, Prudential and Michelin, said: “We have witnessed growing concern over the Carbon Reduction Commitment’s stance regarding on-site generation and believe this policy is causing delay and in some cases halting the growth of on-site wind energy.”

David Gibbs

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