UK Pledges To Ax Green Energy Subsides

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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The United Kingdom is pledging to end all green energy subsidies by the mid-2020s.

“By the mid-2020s, we would like to see the government retreat as much as is possible from [renewable energy] subsidies, the current administration is aiming to be more discriminating about the types of low-carbon technology it wishes to support,” Stephen Lovegrove, the permanent secretary of Britain’s Department of Energy and Climate Change, said at an event Tuesday hosted by Columbia University.

Lovegrove said subsidies should end because “there is a cost being imposed on consumers which distorts the U.K.’s competitiveness and the [British] pound in people’s pockets when they get home.” Lovegrove is referencing the additional green energy tax attached to the bills British homeowners pay.

Lovegrove’s announcement comes as 38 percent of British households are cutting back essential purchases, like food, to pay for high energy bills. Another 59 percent of homes are worried about how they are going to pay energy bills.

Green energy subsidies regularly exceed spending caps and account for roughly 7 percent of British energy bills, according to study released in July by the government.

If subsidies are not cut, the government anticipates an 18 percent increase in domestic electricity prices by 2020, which could drive up household energy bills another 5 percent.

Brits paid a whopping 54 percent more for electricity than Americans paid last year, in part due to green energy taxes. Such taxes currently cost residents and businesses an estimated £4.3 billion (roughly $6.6 billion) every year.

Environmental groups are unhappy at the prospect of no green subsidies.

“The government should back key renewable technologies like wind and solar now to give families and businesses the cheapest and cleanest energy in the future. Instead, it seems obsessed with expensive and old technologies and slashing clean energy subsidies too fast and too broadly” Doug Parr, Greenpeace’s chief scientist told the Financial Times.

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