For renewables to be a commercial success and a sustained contributor to the UK’s energy mix, subsidy support needs to be delivered by the creation of a Sovereign Wealth Fund, agreed key stakeholders at a roundtable event hosted by environmental PR specialist Prova.
Continual change and uncertainty surrounding renewables policy has seen clean energy investment stall in the UK. However, such technology plays a vital role in our national energy mix, particularly in terms of providing security against a fractious global market and achieving the low carbon future envisioned at the recent Paris COP.
However, a lack of belief in the UK government’s commitment to renewables policy and the constant reviews of subsidy levels mean that renewable investment is on the decline.
At the roundtable event, held at The Savoy, industry counterparts from CooperOstlund, GT Energy, Iberia Biomass, O’Donovan Waste Disposal, SARIA, Savills and Turquoise International discussed the impact of subsidies on their own businesses and what measures would enable the wider industry to thrive.
Antidote to short termism?
The resounding conclusion was that a Sovereign Wealth Fund would protect against the short-termism of the UK’s political system, which currently hinders commercial investments and creates additional investment risk. The group agreed the fund should be fed by energy consumers via a carbon tax, which would ensure those using energy pay for the industry’s development and help drive behavioural change in terms of energy efficiency and renewables.
Rebecca Woods, head of environment at Prova, commented: “Rather than looking for increased subsidy levels, what the industry really wants is a long-term vision for policy and support. Every energy source receives some level of subsidy from the Government, but as a fledgling industry, with projects that can take a number of years to reach commissioning, vision and stability is required to provide the confidence to invest. That is why the group feels a Sovereign Wealth Fund fed by energy producers would remove renewable support from the changeable political cycle and provide a long-term, strategic and sustainable solution to ensure renewables can take over from fossil fuels to deliver a secure UK energy supply.”