07 November, 2023

The UK government is aiming to attract record levels of investment in renewable energy sources, according to today's King's speech.

The government will introduce legislation to promote energy security and reduce its reliance on volatile energy markets, King Charles added.

In addition, London aims to reform grid connections to help the UK transition to net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.
RenewableUK Chief Executive Dan McGrail said: “We welcome the Government’s commitment in the King’s Speech to attract record levels of investment in renewable energy and to speed up grid connections to reach net zero. But to achieve this, we’re asking the Chancellor to set out specific policies in his Autumn Statement later this month.

“The UK’s energy security and net zero goals can only be met if we have offshore wind as the backbone of our energy system. To make up for the ground lost in this year’s CfD auction, we’re urging Mr Hunt to help the UK to regain its position as the most attractive place to invest in offshore wind, despite fierce competition from the US and the EU.

“We’re calling for a commitment by the Chancellor to work with the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero to set an overall budget, and maximum strike prices, at appropriate and sustainable levels which allow for a return on investment for vital new projects.

“We also need to see a change in the rules on capital allowances, so that offshore wind projects qualify for the main rate of 18%, rather than the lower rate of 6% which developers get at present.

“We are asking the Chancellor to remove the Electricity Generator Levy from offshore wind projects which choose to sell their power directly on the open market before taking up their CfD. This option is vital for projects to break even in adverse economic conditions.”

However, the decision to grant additional oil and gas leases has met with criticism from clean energy groups.

Greenpeace UK’s head of politics, Rebecca Newsom, said: “All of the world’s superpowers are investing heavily in green infrastructure, renewables and the clean tech of the future because they know it will generate economic growth, jobs and ultimately help to stop the planet from burning.

Instead, our Prime Minister has decided to line up a licensing bonanza for his pals in the oil and gas industry that the government has already admitted won’t lower bills - and won’t deliver energy security either. Together, with his failure to commit to ratify the Global Oceans Treaty, Rishi Sunak’s divisive electioneering is a complete and utter failure of leadership.”

Sam Richards from Britain Remade stated: “Including new legislation to mandate annual North Sea oil and gas licensing rounds in the King’s Speech is little more than political posturing that is unlikely to increase domestic oil and gas production.

“Rather than wasting time trying to create political dividing lines, the Prime Minister should be going hell for leather to speed up the building of new sources of clean energy.

“We urgently need to slash the time it takes to build offshore wind farms, get spades in the ground for new onshore wind turbines, speed up new grid connections and build a new generation of both large and small nuclear power stations.”

Energy UK chief executive Emma Pinchbeck said: “While there has been much focus on new oil and gas licences – and while these will continue to play an important role during the energy transition – they will not lower customer bills or significantly improve the UK’s energy security.

“So the Government’s priority must be to reduce our dependence on gas and the exposure to volatile international energy markets that the King’s Speech referred to.”