UK energy minister Michael Fallon has said that the coalition government is scrutinising all green levies, undermining the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s recent reassurance that renewable support is not being reviewed.
During a meeting with the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), Fallon maintained that all levies that appear on energy bills will be scrutinised. He said: “Given the recent increases in wholesale prices and the quite dramatic increases we have seen from some suppliers, I think it’s only right that we look too at the total fuel bills being paid by our constituents.
“So we are looking very hard at that, it’s not simply a question of looking of looking at so-called green regulations – we are looking at bills across the board. Where there are additional levies on top of the bill that they are as fair and as reasonable as possible. We are looking at each of these levies and all of the various options associated with them.”
When pressed by Alan Whitehead to name which ‘green levies’ would be more likely to be reviewed, Fallon responded: “We are looking at all these things now and I’m not taking any one as a particular preference or priority…It wouldn’t be right to exempt these green levies from the other pressures we are exerting on the retailers and on the transmission and network costs – so we’re looking at all of them.”
The minister’s comments directly undermine a statement released by DECC which promised that “no one is talking about changing investment incentives for renewables, such as the renewables obligation, contracts for difference and feed-in tariffs, which are essential for investor confidence in the renewables sector and our commitments to a low-carbon economy.”
Solar Power Portal spoke to Ray Noble who has been in contact with DECC over the issue, the department reassured him that investor support for renewables will not form part of the 'green levies review' despite the minister saying otherwise. Michael Fallon has a dual brief covering both the Departments for Business Innovation and Skills alongside his responsibilities at DECC.