Energy efficiency at risk from tax review
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The prime minister has announced plans to review environment "levies" as a way rein in rising energy bills, but it is unclear which charges will come under scrutiny
Confusion has been caused because energy minister Michael Fallon has disputed Decc’s confirmation that support for renewables would not be part of the appraisal.
In a statement, the energy department had confirmed: “No one is talking about changing investment incentives for renewables, such as the renewables obligation and feed-in tariffs, which are essential for investor confidence in the renewables sector.”
However, Fallon, appearing before the environmental audit committee, said that all levies would be under the microscope.
The confusion follows David Cameron’s statement to parliament that government needed to “roll back” some of the green regulations and charges that are putting up bills”.
Businesses operating in the built environment have warned the government not to scale back levies on energy bills that support energy efficiency. A letter to the prime minister from chief executives at a number of firms, including E.ON, Carillion and Willmott Dixon, argues that energy efficiency is the “only sure way” to protect against rising bills in the long term.
The warning follows evidence that it is difficult for companies to access finance to invest in energy efficiency.
In a poll of more than 300 energy specialists across the UK, conducted by Siemens Industry and the Energy Institute, 88% said that banks were either not interested in supporting investment in energy-saving technologies or provided “little feedback”. Just one respondent reported having actually received finance for an energy-efficiency initiative.
Higher capital allowances for firms wanting to invest in energy-efficient equipment and the creation of the Green Investment Bank were positive moves, commented Stephen Barker, head of energy efficiency at Siemens. “But the effectiveness of these measures is limited as there is a critical gap in the actual delivery of finance,” he argued.
Demand for fossil fuels will peak by 2025 if all national net-zero pledges are implemented in full and on time, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecast.
The Green Homes Grant is set to deliver only a fraction of the jobs and improvements intended, leading to calls for more involvement from local authorities in future schemes.
COVID-19 recovery packages have largely focused on protecting, rather than transforming, existing industries, and have been a “lost opportunity” for speeding up the global energy transition.
Half of the world's 40 largest listed oil and gas companies will have to slash their production by at least 50% by the 2030s to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement, new analysis has found.
None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.
The UK’s pipeline for renewable energy projects could mitigate 90% of job losses caused by COVID-19 and help deliver the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. That is according to a recent report from consultancy EY-Parthenon, which outlines how the UK’s £108bn “visible pipeline” of investible renewable energy projects could create 625,000 jobs.
Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.