UK SETS CAP ON RENEWABLE ENERGY SUBSIDIES
The United Kingdom's government announced last week that it would cap subsidies for renewable energy projects at £200 million ($340 million) a year, a move that frustrated green energy advocates and small businesses in the industry. The decision will affect the funding of large-scale, low-carbon installations from wind and solar farms to biomass-burning power plants. The money will be available under the coalition's new "contracts for difference," which subsidize renewable energy companies that offer electricity at a lower rate of carbon emissions than fossil fuel generators, and are paid for by levies on household energy bills. The secretary for energy and climate change, Ed Davey, said the new policy would boost the market for renewable energy. "Our plan is powering growth and jobs as we build clean, secure electricity infrastructure for the future. By radically reforming the electricity markets, we're making sure that decarbonizing the power sector will come at the lowest possible cost to consumers." But some renewable companies said the spending represented a large reduction in the support they receive, and could lead to far fewer low-carbon installations being built. For instance, under the scheme, about £50 million ($85 million) a year will be made available to companies ranging from large-scale solar farms to landfill gas operations and hydro-electric plants. This would translate into a cut in large-scale solar installations of about 65% to 80% next year, according to the Solar Trade Association. See https://www.gov.uk/government/news/over-200-million-boost-for-renewables, http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/2014/07/25/stories/1060003471, and http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/24/uk-renewable-energy-subsidies-capped-at-200m-a-year.