Jul 26 2012

Published by under Student blog entries

Courtesy of Global Marine Photos (Flickr)

While multiple European countries seem to be heading in the right direction regarding renewable energy, it appears that Great Britain recently took a step backwards. The British government dealt the renewable energy a blow by cutting subsidies for multiple industries.  Although leaders in the renewable industry view the new policy as detrimental to the future of renewable energy, multiple government officials seem to think the opposite. Ed Davey, the Secretary of State had this to say: “The support we’re setting out today will unlock investment decisions, help ensure that rapid growth in renewable energy continues and shows the key role of renewables for our energy security.” Here are a few figures that seem to contradict what Davey has to say: offshore wind subsidies were cut by 5% by 2015 and are expected to be cut even further after that. Onshore wind subsidies were cut by 10% while the biomass energy generation industry received even fewer benefits than expected.

Although the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) revealed that the new policies will reduce electricity bills by 6 pounds, (about $9) cutting funding for renewable energies doesn’t sound like a good plan for the future. Leaders in the renewable energy field stated that they are concerned investors and financial backers will be less likely to invest in renewables now that the government seems to be backing away from future funding. Martin Wright, Chairman of the Renewable Energy Association, explains that” Business confidence is essential to realize the vast potential of this industry.”

The new policies gave further support to the natural gas industry, however. This same investment in natural gas has been seen in the United States, especially with the recent growth of the fracking industry. What both the US and Britain need to understand is that investing in renewable energy sources, while possibly costly now, will pay off in the long run economically and environmentally.

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