UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)

Government Renewable Energy Subsidy Cuts Leave Industry ‘in Limbo’ and Send ‘Worrying Signal’ About UK Climate Commitment

The government’s cuts to renewable energy subsidies will leave the industry “in limbo” and send a “worrying signal” about the UK’s commitment to tackling climate change ahead of the Paris climate conference, warns Angus Macneil, chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has seen an intense backlash from industry, analysts, and politicians as it works to cut the “green crap” in what it claims to be an effort to keep down household bills – the latest being yesterday’s announcement by Amber Rudd, head of DECC, to cut solar subsidies.

Reacting to the news, Macneil said: “The measures announced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change today raise more alarming questions for investors in low carbon, renewable technologies who are already struggling to finance projects after a series of sudden policy changes.”

Are Solar Subsidies Amber Rudd’s Next Target?

Solar subsidies might be next on the DECC chopping block. Amber Rudd, secretary of state for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), has warned that the government is “looking carefully” at the payments.

Speaking to Solar Power Portal at the official opening of the second phase of Ketton Solar Farm’s 13MW project, Rudd said: “There has been a lot of subsidy in this area – a lot. 

“More than people anticipated when the feed-in tariffs and the renewable obligation were set up and we have to find ways of supporting solar that doesn’t involve subsidy.”

This comes just a month after DECC announced it will scrap subsidies for new onshore wind projects from 1 April 2016. But it also follows Rudd’s post-election statement that she hopes to “unleash a solar revolution” across Britain to encourage homeowners to install panels on their roofs.

Meet the 15 Fossil Fuel Giants Behind the Controversial Law to Maximise UK Oil and Gas Extraction

Shell, BP, Total UK and Centrica are just a few of the 15 oil and gas companies courted by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to help implement the Wood Review recommendation to maximise the economic recovery of UK petroleum (MER UK) – a policy which is now law under the Infrastructure Act.

Under the Infrastructure Act this policy introduces a new legal obligation on current and future governments to extract every last drop of oil and gas. This is in direct conflict with Britain’s target to reduce emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

According to the agenda for a June 2014 PILOT meeting between government and industry obtained by DeSmog UK, the companies were consulted on how to implement the MER UK recommendation one month prior to the government issuing its official statement on implementing the Wood Review.

Fracking Industry Celebrates Amber Rudd Promotion to Energy Secretary

Fracking wells will be popping like champagne corks across Britain during the next five years following the promotion of shale gas supporter Amber Rudd to secretary of state for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

While green groups have welcomed her position on renewables, oil and gas industry lobbyists have told DeSmog UK they are delighted with the appointment. The shale gas industry has been eagerly awaiting the post-election fracking go-ahead.

Rudd is the UK’s first female energy secretary. She enters the position with a to-do list chock-full of high-priority items including the Paris climate negotiations in December, carbon capture and storage, and nuclear power. But, with Cuadrilla’s impending Lancashire planning application decision due next month, fracking will be one of the first issues Rudd must tackle.

Britain Ignores Tyndall Centre Report Urging Shale Gas Moratorium At Its Own Peril

Despite the evidence of significant potential risks presented in a recent report by the Tyndall Centre, the British government says it will forge ahead with plans for shale gas development in the UK. The Tyndall Centre’s study, “Shale gas: a provisional assessment of climate change and environmental impacts” [PDF], urged the UK to place a moratorium on shale gas in light of serious risks associated with shale gas development, including the contamination of ground and surface waters, the expected net increase of CO2 emissions, and substantial monetary costs which could delay major investments in clean energy technologies.

Shale gas extraction involves drilling into shale formations followed by a rock fracturing process which uses heavily polluting chemicals. Especially in the US with the introduction of drilling “refinements” known as hydrofracturing or “fracking,” shale gas extraction has become highly divisive, and ever more popular among natural gas producers (making up nearly 10% of production by some estimates). The significant water contamination and public health risks associated with shale gas are well documented in last year’s “Gasland” film.

Paul Monaghan, the Co-operative’s head of sustainability describes shale gas as “like tar sands in your backyard, both in terms of local pollution and in terms of carbon emissions.”

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