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The Government has announced a number of changes in energy policy since the elections in May 2015. On July 22 Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd set out why renewable energy subsidies where being reviewed:

  1. My priorities are clear. We need to keep bills as low as possible for hardworking families and businesses while reducing our emissions in the most cost-effective way.
  2. “Our support has driven down the cost of renewable energy significantly. As costs continue to fall it becomes easier for parts of the renewables industry to survive without subsidies. We’re taking action to protect consumers, whilst protecting existing investment”.


On 18 June there was an announcement by the Government of its intention to close the Renewables Obligation for onshore wind one year early, in 2016.  This will apply to all developments over 5MW in size.   Following this on 8 July, the Summer Budget included an announcement on the removal of the Climate Change Levy Exemption that applied to renewable electricity supplies.  The Treasury also announced in its Productivity Plan Fixing the Foundations, on 10 July, that the introduction of the Zero Carbon Homes standard in 2016 would be scrapped. On July  22, DECC announced a package of measures to “control the cost of renewable energy”, including controlling subsidies for biomass and solar PV under the Renewables Obligation and changing accreditation rules under the Feed-in Tariff. On July 2023 DECC announced that funding for the Green Deal Finance Company funding would end, removing the financial support for Green Deal measures.

On 27 August the Government published its consultation on its Review of Feed-in Tariffs, for projects smaller than 5MW, which included wide ranging changes. Included in the proposals is the option of removing payments for generation tariff (which is the larger portion of the scheme) if there is a surge of applications before the proposed changes come into force in January 2016, and retaining the payment for energy exported only. If this is not implemented tariff changes proposed include cuts to solar PV of between 76 and 87%, which were widely reported in the press.

The potential impact of all these changes on investor confidence was reflected in the UK dropping out of the top ten most attractive countries to invest in renewables (from eighth to eleventh) according to the EY Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index, which has been running for thirteen years ago. The report concluded that “a wave of policies reducing or removing various forms of support for renewable energy projects has confused investors and consumers”. The changes have also led to the Energy and Climate Change Committee launching an inquiry, which is ongoing, into Investor Confidence in the UK Energy Sector. This will “be looking at what steps Government must take to restore confidence in the UK’s energy sector and improve DECC’s policy making processes”.

The changes have also led the Government’s commitment to reducing emissions and tackling climate change being called into question. Ministers have been consistent on reiterating that this is not the case, stating that unchecked climate change is one of the greatest long-term economic risks this country faces.


In the announcement in October 2015 that EDF and its Chinese partner China General Nuclear Corporation had committed the building Hinkley Point C the Government made clear that this would support further stations being built.

  1. The Government will support new nuclear power stations as we move to a low-carbon future. Hinkley Point C will kick start this and is expected to be followed by more nuclear power stations, including Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell in Essex. This will provide essential financial and energy security for generations to come.

New Direction for UK Energy Policy

In speech on 6 November the Secretary of State set for her vision for “an energy system that puts consumers first, delivers more competition, reduces the burden on bill-payers and ensures enough electricity generation to power the nation”. This included:

  • Consultation on ending unabated coal-fired power stations by 2025
  • New gas-fired power stations a priority
  • Commitment to offshore wind support completes commitment to secure, low-carbon, affordable electricity supplies
  • Move towards a smarter energy system

The Government also intends to focus on innovation for clean and cheap technologies and on market led choices, to keep costs as low as possible.

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