It seems that political confusion and friction over the recent energy price hikes has led to Npower pulling their investment out of a £4bn project for a new UK windfarm. This is another blow in a long line of hits the UK’s green energy campaign has taken. The Atlantic Array project in the Bristol Channel is an important component of Britain’s plan to reach it’s green targets.
By 2020, it is hoped that at least 15% of energy generated in Britain is from renewable sources. This is an ambitious target to say the least but not unattainable if the industry keeps moving and investment continues. Npower pulling out of this £4bn plan is certainly going to throw a small spanner into the works. This news comes and Npower seem increasingly frustrated with the Government’s approach to managing the issues surrounding energy generation, and a few weeks after the german owned company accused Britain of playing ‘political football’ with environmental subsidies. Despite their recent casting in a negative light due to price hikes, the energy company isn’t far wrong. The Government has dragged its heels over the issue for weeks in light public outcries, petitions, reports and inspections. The UK feels less united than ever over the issue of energy, not least because the demographic has been forced into polarised positions due to booming household prices conflicting with Government schemes. The middleman - the energy company - seems to have gotten off rather lightly after a gruelling few weeks, throwing the blame onto the Government’s green levies and wholesale prices while at the same time announcing profits in the region of 4-5% in the household sector.
The renewable energy association, a lobbying group for reducing carbon emissions, has said that the government squabbling and arguing over the issues has deepened uncertainty in the industry and reduced investor confidence.
"We need assurances from George Osborne in the autumn statement about where we stand. Clegg says one thing about the green levies, Michael Fallon another."
Prime Minister David Cameron has recently talked of the need to to remove ‘green things’ from energy bills. Something which may appease the nation and win back some support but heavily damage the need to move toward a cleaner, greener country. One of the UK’s leading energy analysts, Peter Atherton, has indicated that investment in power generation has been “killed stone dead” until the Government comes together on the issue - either through market reform or a new election.
It’s clear that in order for us to reach our energy targets, we’re going to have to be able to sustain funding in the sector. Many energy committees have acknowledged that green subsidies will have to continue, either from the energy companies themselves or from the taxpayer directly. All eyes are on George Osborne's Autumn statement.