Articles filed under Taxes & Subsidies from UK

Warning issued over firms that promise to fix your blot on the planet

Your view: Is carbon offsetting a con? Holidaymakers are being misled by companies who guarantee to repair the damage flights do to the atmosphere, according to the first independent study of a fast-growing market. The report claims it is not possible to state categorically that buying any "carbon offset" — as Tony Blair did grudgingly last week to counter the global warming potential of his family's New Year break in Miami Beach — will neutralise the damage that flying causes to the atmosphere.
15 Jan 2007

We're not anti-wind farms - but they should be offshore

Toynbee considers the Renewable Energy Foundation "an anti-wind outfit". We are not. We have consistently argued for offshore wind, among other technologies, to be made more attractive, and for a secure role for the renewables sector. Renewables have much to offer in tackling our energy crisis, but undiscerning enthusiasm, and an unwillingness to recognise the problems arising from a defective subsidy system, won't help anyone.
11 Jan 2007

Industry calls for more renewables spending

The government must put more money into renewable energy if it is to stand any chance of meeting its target of getting 20 percent of its energy from those sources by 2020, industry associations said on Friday. The goal was set out in last year’s review of the country’s future energy needs and how to supply them and is expected to be enshrined in the Energy White Paper expected in March.
5 Jan 2007

Plan for 'Bovine Methane Credits'

Cow flatulence last night became the latest battleground in the fight for the green vote with farmers fearing they could be hit by a new levy.Politicians hit out at the levels of bovine emissions - which now account for about one million tonnes of methane a year in the UK. Whitehall officials are now preparing to get bids to analyse the financial benefits of a scheme which would see farms buying and selling "credits" for the amount of gas their herds produce.
4 Jan 2007

National grid will totter in the prevailing wind

The real message of the REF reports, however, is, first, that wind is so unreliable that we would have to build up to a dozen new conventional power stations just to provide backup for all the intended turbines when the wind is not blowing; and, second, that the more we depend on the unpredictable wind, the more this will destabilise the grid, threatening its breakdown. This was confirmed by another recent report, from UCTE, Europe’s principal grid authority, on the power failure that blacked out much of western Europe on November 4. A significant factor in that collapse of the grid was the growing difficulty of accommodating Germany’s dependence on 18,000 turbines for 6 per cent of its power.
17 Dec 2006

Calls for action against misleading ‘green’ energy claims by fuel giants

Consumer groups last night called for action to be taken against Britain's household energy suppliers who make misleading and confusing environmental claims. Companies such as British Gas, ScottishPower, and Scottish and Southern Energy entice customers to sign up to their services by claiming that, by paying or agreeing to "a green tariff", they are giving something back to the environment. In return for signing up to a "green tariff" energy plan, the supplier will either plant a tree or obtain energy from renewable sources. In some cases the tariffs cost nothing, but in other cases there can be a £10 to £20 a year surcharge. The National Consumer Council (NCC) and the consumer watchdog, energywatch, called on Britain's household energy suppliers to be more honest and upfront about their green tariff plans. They have also called on the government and energy service regulatory body Ofgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) to make sure all their environmental claims are independently audited.
14 Dec 2006

Consumer groups urge action to stem tide of misleading ‘green’ energy claims

The National Consumer Council and the consumer watchdog, energywatch, today call on Britain’s household energy suppliers to be more honest and upfront about their ‘green’ tariffs – and to spell out clearly what the environmental benefits really are. The call comes as NCC publishes an investigation into the environmental credentials of green tariffs on offer in this country. NCC’s research shows that while many consumers say they’re happy to pay a premium for green energy, most green tariffs don’t live up to the environmental benefits claimed.
13 Dec 2006

Research brings clarity to UK renewables sector

Campbell Dunford, CEO of REF, said: “This important modelling exercise shows that even with best efforts a large wind carpet in the UK would have a low capacity credit, and be a real handful to manage. This isn’t the best way to encourage China and India to move towards the low-carbon economy. As a matter of urgency, for the planet’s sake, we need to bring forward a much broader range of low carbon generating technologies, including the full sweep of renewables. Wind has a place, but it must not be allowed to squeeze out other technologies that have more to offer.”
9 Dec 2006

Windfarm industry faces new challenge

Hundreds of millions of pounds are being wasted on wind farms which will have no real impact on providing Britain’s future energy supply - and are damaging public support for going green, campaigners claimed last night.The Renewable Energy Foundation claims the Government is wrongly handing over a sixth of its subsidy fund - currently worth £500 million - to companies running on-shore turbines. In 2002-05, more than £167 million went to wind farm firms. The REF pressure group says wind farms “are not giving value for money” and wants an overhaul of the subsidy system. It claims the unreliable weather means wind power is unlikely ever to play a major part in meeting the demand for electricity
9 Dec 2006

UK industry wary of renewables reform

Government proposals to reform the UK’s tradable renewable certificate system to support more technologies could be a risky gamble, according to Pöyry Energy Consulting. Richard Slark, principle consultant at Pöyry, told EFP Online: “There’s a very high compliance case, or a very low compliance case and nothing in the middle.” He was speaking following an Energy Institute conference in London on Tuesday. Ostensibly about the future of the renewables industry after 2020, the event was dominated by debate over proposals to reform or even replace the Renewables Obligation (RO).
7 Dec 2006

Do green tariffs help the planet?

Thousands of us are signing up to plans from energy suppliers that promise to provide our energy from renewable sources. But while green tariffs might ease our consciences, do they actually make any difference to the environment? Under green tariffs, energy suppliers promise to match your electricity use by putting the same amount of energy from renewable sources – mostly wind farms – back into the national grid. But environmental groups are not certain of the schemes’ green credentials. Friends of the Earth used to produce a league table of green tariffs, ranking them according to their benefit to the environment. However, it has now ceased the exercise because it says it has become impossible to accurately gauge how much good the schemes do.
27 Oct 2006

Going green is not cheap

Cutting household carbon emissions has full government support, in theory. But try taking bigger steps to turn your house into an eco-home and you end up generating more heat under your collar than anywhere else. As Jeanette Winterson writes, going green is not only hard work but also excruciatingly expensive because the Government is doing little to help in real terms. In her determination to use eco-friendly building methods when renovating her cottage, the author discovered that, rather than providing incentives, the Government is taxing homeowners trying to do the right thing, adding thousands to the cost of installing rainwater harvesting systems and geothermal energy.
27 Oct 2006

Denmark seeks EU renewable energy trading scheme

The European Union should adopt binding energy savings targets and look into launching a new trading scheme to encourage businesses to use renewable energy sources, Denmark’s prime minister said on Friday. Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Reuters the 25-nation bloc, struggling to reduce rising dependency on imported gas and oil, should follow Denmark’s example as it develops a common energy policy at a time of high fuel prices and growing global demand.
20 Oct 2006

Another hidden subsidy for wind power

This demanding work is carried out by the MoD at no charge to the developer. Since the beginning of this rush for wind the MoD have received about 4500 applications and this year it is running at between 70 and 100 per month. They all have to be assessed, and many of these will be re-assessed so the work is enormous.
16 Oct 2006

Cash for renewable energy turns out to be recycled

David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, was accused yesterday of running a “brazen” spin operation, after it emerged that his promise of more money for clean energy sources will mean less money for energy-saving projects. At last month’s Labour conference Mr Miliband announced he was putting £10m into a programme run by the Carbon Trust, a private company established four years ago to involve businesses in fighting global warming. The grant will be used to get private companies to build wind turbines to generate power. He forecast that the scheme would generate enough electricity to supply 250,000 houses. A footnote to an accompanying press release from the Environment Department (Defra), however, reveals that the money has come out of the £20m allocated to Defra in the Budget in March - money that was to be invested in energy-saving measures.
14 Oct 2006

Row over renewable energy scheme

A renewable energy scheme is being funded by cuts from other projects designed to promote household energy efficiency, the BBC has learned. At the Labour conference, Environment Secretary David Miliband promised £10m to help fund projects like wind power. But it has emerged schemes to promote double-glazing and insulation are to be cut to fund it. A Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) spokesman said energy efficiency was crucial.
13 Oct 2006

Wind farms may suffer in plan to boost other fuel sources

THE Government is proposing to favour some renewable energy sources over others in an attempt to kick-start types of green power that have been slow to take off. The approach could mean that less well developed forms of renewable energy, such as marine or solar power, receive more subsidy in the form of Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs). Established forms of renewables, such as onshore wind farms, could receive fewer ROCs. The proposals to reform the ROC system were issued for consultation today as Alistair Darling, the Trade and Industry Secretary, stuck the first spade in the ground at what will be Britain’s biggest onshore wind farm — Whitelee — operated by ScottishPower on Eaglesham Moor outside Glasgow.
9 Oct 2006

UK renewables: to band or not to band?

The UK government’s proposals to band the Renewables Obligation have again stirred industry debate. The UK government signaled early this year that it would put forward proposals to band the Renewables Obligation, thereby effectively selecting winners and losers from an array of renewable technologies and awarding them differentiated renewable obligation certificates. As energy suppliers and generators await the banding outcome, debate as to the most viable and practicable approach rages.
3 Oct 2006

Renewables cash to spearhead investment in public sector

Wind turbine projects on public sites like hospitals and council houses will receive a £10m funding boost as part of the Government’s efforts to open up the ‘largely untapped’ public sector to the renewables industry, the environment secretary said on Wednesday. The scheme will see up to half a billion pounds invested in onsite renewables, mostly wind turbines Defra wants to see 500MW worth of onsite renewables installed on public land through the Carbon Trust “Partnership for Renewables” scheme, which will work with public bodies as well as the private sector to provide funding for the initial stages of project development and management. Wind energy expansion on this scale would bring Britain’s wind energy generating capacity up by 25%, Defra calculates.
28 Sep 2006
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