The UK government’s sudden abolition of subsidies for wind, solar and biomass energy send a risky message and could shake investor confidence, according to Veolia UK and Ireland senior executive vice-president Estelle Brachlianoff.
Ms Brachlianoff, writing for The Guardian, said the government’s U-turn on renewable energy risks sending this country back to the dark ages of relying only on fossil fuel.
“Since the election we have seen a slashing of subsidies for biomass, anaerobic digestion and biogas as well as solar and wind,” Ms Brachlianoff said.
“This will make very little difference to household bills but will impact heavily on energy security and in the long-term increase bills with no way back. Renewable energy can actually secure energy prices, giving security for households, whatever fossil fuel prices are,” she added.
Ms Brachlianoff said the government’s decision to apply the climate change levy on renewable energy plants is illogical. She argues it removes the business case for existing renewable energy pla that were predicated on the investment avoiding carbon tax until 2023.
Without financial justification, Ms Brachlianoff argues it will be very hard for business to invest in renewables again – particularly if there is a worry that any other support could be scrapped at a moment’s notice.
Working with Imperial College London, Veolia researched the potential of a ‘circular’ economy, an economy which gets full value from natural resources. The research forecast that this economy would be worth an extra £29bn to the UK and would create 175,000 jobs.
“Rather than stifling the potential of a circular economy, the government needs to encourage it,” Ms Brachlianoff said.
In December, the government will be taking part in the UN climate summit in Paris. A global event, incorporating governments and business, it could be a generation-defining event and enable a climate secure future.