Renew On Line (UK) 60
Extracts from NATTA's journal
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7.Funding Gap? LCBP gets £30m
With the DTI’s Clear Skies and Major Photovoltaic Demonstration programmes being wound up, the renewable energy community has expressed concerns about funding in the future. The MPDP has seen 1000’s of PV projects go ahead and solar PV prices have fallen by 30%, while the Clear Skies programme has supported many community projects. But the replacement Low Carbon Buildings Programme (LCBP) has only just completed its consultation phase, so there were fear that there could be a funding gap. Philip Wolfe of the Renewable Power Association complained that “the commercial consequences of this stop-start approach for private sector businesses are potentially disastrous. Investment decisions are being put on hold and hard-won jobs in the sector are now under threat.” Jeremy Leggett of Solar Century said “It makes business planning virtually impossible. They’ve created a fledgling industry and then decided on a whim to nip it in the bud”.
In a joint statement Greenpeace and the Renewable Power Association maintained that there will be a gap in funding for community renewable energy projects. “This is happening just at a time when government is urging communities to ‘do their bit’ in the battle against climate change. Given the Prime Minister’s repeated comments about climate change, we find it incomprehensible that the government is sleep-walking towards a protracted gap in support for technologies such as solar thermal, biomass and solar PV.”
Stephen Tindale from Greenpeace piled on the pressure: “Given the government persists in marginalizing these technologies, the least they can do is maintain what little support they do provide for these most vital businesses. Many innovative businesses will simply not survive the funding gap. In the face of climate change, that is scandalous. The gap between the rhetoric and reality of government action on climate change gets wider by the day.”
However Energy Minister, Malcolm Wicks, responding to Parliamentary Questions on 31st Oct, said that ‘we are currently developing the details of the new programme and considering how best to ensure a smooth transition with minimal disruption to grant support’, adding that the low carbon buildings programme was ‘due to be in place by April 2006’. And on Nov 3. he announced £30m for the Low Carbon Building Programme over three years- with a strong emphasis on schools- see Box. He said that he was also bringing forward £1.5 m to help the Clear Skies & Photovoltaic programmes meet increased demand until the LCBP was in place. So it pays to complain! But the level of support is quite low- £10m p.a. for three years. The Renewable Power Association’s microrenewables policy manager, Sebastian Berry, said the amount of funding was a ‘clear step backwards’ adding that ‘we are extremely disappointed at the small scale of funding available... The overall funding pot is not at the same level as previous government commitments to ensure that a range of renewable technologies are in a position to contribute to future government targets.’
When first announced in 2001, the solar PV initiative was expected
to continue until 2012 and ‘establish the
As noted in Renew 159, there are also concerns that the LCBP, which the DTI consultation suggests should involve competitive bidding, will be concentrated on a few large-scale projects at the expense of smaller scaled community projects.
* Green Party Principal Speaker Keith Taylor commented: ‘Compared with the billions sunk every year into nuclear industry £30m is a woefully small sum to stimulate the renewable energy sector’.
The report claims that the
IOP’s chief executive Robert Kirby-Harris commented “This report shows that the huge promise of renewables will only be realised if there is sufficient investment in research and development in this field and also in attracting more students into essential subjects such as physics. A simple, clearer system of funding linked to more post-graduate and research opportunities in renewable energy research is urgently needed to kick-start this process.” See www.iop.org/news/1004
However it not just University training that’s needed- but new skills
right across the range. Jean Lambert, London’s Green MEP, has called
for action to provide the
The government is to provide £63m to companies to promote innovation under the latest round of the £370m Technology Programme- which now subsumes the DTI’s New and Renewable Energy Programme (see Renew 156). Funding is available for six technology priority areas, including £13m for low-carbon energy.
The Government is also providing additional funding of £10m for technology demonstrations under DTI’s Carbon Abatement Technologies Strategy.
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