It took a while for all the implications of George Osborne's "Emergency" budget to sink in, perhaps a couple of hours until Twitter started buzzing. "We will remove the out-dated Climate Change Levy exemption for renewable electricity." So renewable energy generators, already hit by other government policies, will now have to pay out more in tax: £450 million lost to the Treasury in 2015/16, rising to £910 million in 2020/21. That’s £3.9 billion over the next six years.
As the name of the tax, the Climate Change Levy, implies, it was created to encourage clean energy generation, a carbon tax more or less, so extending it to renewables is bizarre. However, there is now no need to rename it. By hobbling renewable energy development it is now a levy to encourage climate change.
Share prices in renewable companies fell immediately (thanks to Friends of the Earth for the image)
"I want our country to exploit all the natural resources we have. I want us to keep energy bills down and I want us to be part of that revolution, which can create thousands of jobs."
With these words David Cameron, at Prime Minister's Questions on 1st July, could have been expressing his support for developing onshore wind and other renewable energy resources - but he wasn't.