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Renewable energy projects suffer as policy fails them

UK climate policy has been heavily criticised for not supporting business development in renewable energy leaving the country at a competitive disadvantage. Criticism from the CBI, Renewable Energy Association and the Environmental Industries Commissions Environment Investment Network follows disappointment that the G20 failed to agree strong green fiscal stimuli.

The three organisation all described Government renewable energy policy, which includes energy from waste, anaerobic digestion and gasification, as inadequate.

The CBI said that billions of pounds of green investment, which includes cash for energy-from-waste, anaerobic digestion and gasification, could go to the US and China if the Government does not take urgent action. CBI director general Richard Lambert said it was politics and policy that were delaying UK investment not the recession.

REA spokeswoman Leonie Green told MRW: The CBI voluntary survey with REA members revealed a huge number of renewable projects going on hold because of problems getting access to finance and banks pulling out of projects.

[Policy needs to be] about the Government taking steps to make sure the sector can get the money it needs to continue projects.

She cited countries such as Germany and Sweden where governments have provided substantial support for the sector while the UK falls behind.

There are plenty of examples of countries acting quite along time ago, while in the UK were still trying to get hold of money that had been ring-fenced for the sector and now the Government wants to claw it back - its an extraordinary situation.

One example Green highlighted was that of Inetec, the anaerobic digestion project in Immingham worth £120m.

She said: It was described by backers Alliance and Leicester as one of the best engineering projects theyd ever seen, but it has been struggling since Santander took over A&L and closed the investment division that had been supporting it.

EIC EIN chairman Michael Sippitt also described current climate change policy as ineffective. Network manager Matthew Evans told MRW: Theres a lot of grant funding for research and development but not for full commercial funding. Theres really a gap there which we are trying to fill.

The REA called for more investment in the sector back in March at the Governments Low Carbon Summit (26 March). But the organisation said they have not heard anything from the Government regarding this. At the time REA policy director Gaynor Hartnell told MRW that between 20 to 25 per cent of the £625m (equalling about £156.25m) should be earmarked for waste and recycling related energy production.


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