Companies hoping to build new windfarms, solar plants and tidal lagoons, have been dealt a blow after the government said there would be no new subsidies for clean power projects until 2025 at the earliest.
The Treasury said it had taken the decision to “protect” consumers, because households and businesses were facing an annual cost of about £9bn on their energy bills to pay for wind, solar and nuclear subsidies to which it had already committed.
The revelation that there will be no more money for projects before 2025 could dash hopes for pioneering projects such as the proposed £1.3bn tidal lagoon in Swansea, which has a mooted launch date of 2022.
In a Treasury document on carbon levies published on Wednesday, officials said: “On the basis of the current forecast, there will be no new low-carbon electricity levies until 2025.
Environmental groups criticised the Treasury move. The WWF said it was a huge disappointment, while Greenpeace claimed Wednesday’s budget was one of the least green ever.
Business groups also reacted with dismay. The pro-environment Aldersgate Group, whose members include BT, Ikea and Marks & Spencer, said the lack of clarity on low-carbon power investments was disappointing.
James Court, head of policy at the Renewable Energy Association, said: “The UK government seem to be turning their back on renewables by announcing no new support for projects post-2020 and a freeze on carbon taxes.”