The Financial Times reported this week that serious and established plans by Siemens to build a wind turbine industry in the UK, with the creation of hundreds of new jobs, are now being threatened by possible new coalition cuts to clean energy budgets.
The Financial Times reported this week that serious and established plans by Siemens to build a wind turbine industry in the UK, with the creation of hundreds of new jobs, are now being threatened by possible new coalition cuts to clean energy budgets. This is despite claims from David Cameron that he would lead the “greenest government ever”.
The FT reports:
Britain must improve its port infrastructure if planned investments in offshore wind power are to happen, the head of one of the biggest wind companies has warned.
Peter Loscher, chief executive of Siemens, told the Financial Times that a proposed £60m overhaul of some ports, intended to make them ready for the heavy duty wind turbines under development, was vital if the company was to proceed with building an £80m manufacturing facility that could create hundreds of “green jobs”.
“This is something that is definitely needed,” he said.
Left Foot Forward understands that Siemens have spoken up because they believe the Labour government’s pledge to provide £60 million for the port upgrades may be abandoned by Liberal Democrat business secretary Vince Cable, as part of his department’s cuts package.
This threat looms alongside news that research projects for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) face delays after Lib Dem climate change and energy secretary Chris Huhne said he is putting off any decision on which CCS research projects will go ahead in the UK.
In a separate FT article, the paper reported:
The first plants with CCS technology are likely to be delayed, as the government said on Tuesday it had not set a date for the initial winner of a competition it had launched to prove the technology to receive public funding.
A further consultation, due to finish by the end of 2011, will then take place on the running of a second competition to provide funding for a further three plants.
The CCS competition has already been running for four years and the former climate secretary, Ed Miliband, had said he would make a decision on the first demonstration project this year. Labour’s scheduled roll out for CCS aspired to see coal plants fully fitted with CCS by the early 2020s. Delays in this timetable – and the ongoing lack of regulation to ensure this timetable can be met – are arguably the biggest threat to the efforts to meet the cuts set out in the climate change act.
This bad news comes as Ministers also announced this week that the budget for electric cars will be cut by 80 per cent. This is despite strong and public advice from the government’s own Committee on Climate Change that this fund should be singled out for protection due its importance for the UK to be able to meet its climate targets. The committee has recommended that the UK needs to aim to have 1.7 million electric cars on British roads by 2020 to hit the target set out in the climate change act.
All of this cutting comes in addition to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) slashing £85m from its books, including important clean energy funds designed to help business reduce their emissions. Left Foot Forward reported on this a couple of weeks ago.
It is also in addition to the announcement that Labour’s proposed funding streams for a new Green Investment Bank, the sale of public assets and land, have been ruled out. The plan would have provided billions of pounds’ worth of green investment.
Ministers would appear to be ignoring the advice of their statutory advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, who have warned that without government support, a range of low-carbon technologies are in danger of being stuck in the so-called “valley of death”, whereby private sector investors will be unwilling to take a risk on the investment needed.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.