As 12.30 fast approaches the UK’s renewable industry is sat wondering if the self-dubbed ‘greenest Government ever’ will live up to our high expectations during the Budget 2011. Before anything official is announced, here are a couple of things I’ll be keeping an eye out for.
The Green Investment Bank (GIB) is supposed to play an integral role in kick-starting the UK towards a low carbon infrastructure. Originally suggested by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, the GIB has now become part of the Coalition’s pledge. Several environment audit committee MPs have since articulated that the industry requires an independent bank that can borrow and issue bonds.
However, the Treasury officials been fairly against the bank, as they have not wanted to let go of the control the Treasury currently has over Government borrowing. The Treasury has also claimed that a GIB would only add to the national debt; a point that has caused a lot of controversy in the renewables industry. The latest prediction here is that the GIB will be able to borrow, but not till 2015.
Another point to look out for in the Budget 2011 is the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) ‘Green Deal’. At present it seems that only the cheaper energy efficiency measures such as cavity wall insulation will pass the green deal's test, in which the cost savings in home energy bills must be more than the loan repayments.
Lastly, further simplification of the carbon reduction commitment (CRC) is expected today. Last budget, the Government simplified this commitment by turning it from a potential incentive into a tax.
A full report on all things green will be published post budget, log on later to find out more.