REA CEO Gaynor Hartnell said; "It's important the Green Bank is sufficiently capitalised and supports renewable energy in all forms and at all scales. The bank could help to optimise manufacturing and job creation opportunities across the full range of renewable technologies."
The Green Investment Bank will control £2billion worth of equity, and the government intends it to focus on green transport and sustainable energy and in particular offshore wind. The REA would to see the Bank offer support to all renewables at all scales. The Bank would be able to leverage further investment and potentially issue green bonds, as well as provide cornerstone funding for large projects.
Also announced was a £60m fund for offshore wind manufacturers to develop port sites to help manufacturing companies locate facilities in the UK. This will be allocated after a competition, the details of which will follow shortly.
Gaynor Hartnell said, "While there in plenty in the budget on green investment, we expected more to address the growing skills gap right across the renewables industry."
An announcement was also due on biomass ‘grandfathering' under the Renewables Obligation, but this has now been delayed until next week.
Gaynor Hartnell commented, "This is an absolutely vital issue for the industry. Government has today given some indication of its proposed solution and we will be scrutinising these in detail. The crucial test will be whether the statement due on Tuesday does enough to unlock the billions of pounds of planned investments that have been stalled since before Christmas".
The government published the initial assessment of its Energy Market review, which invites further consultation on future options to increase investor confidence in low carbon industry. This comes alongside Infrastructure UK's report on a Strategy for national infrastructure which underlines the costs associated with renewable investment, given perceived risks. Both consultations will continue into summer.
Government announced that it will continue to review funding for the Renewable Heat Incentive delaying today's expected announcement. They confirm that renewable heat generated for domestic use will not be subject to income tax.
Proposed changes to the Enhanced Capital Allowances announced for ‘biomass air heaters' do not go far enough. REA has been pressing for all renewable heat technologies to be eligible for ECA's Renewable companies could benefit from the ‘UK Finance for Growth' launched to streamline Government SME finance and provide access to a £4bn range of financial support products for businesses. RBS and Lloyds will provide a total of £94bn of new business loans - nearly half to SMEs.
Transport - The abolition of the fuel duty rebate for biofuels (announced Budget 2008) is confirmed. The extension of the rebate for biodiesel made from used cooking oil for the next two years is also confirmed (announced Pre-Budget Report 2009).
Gaynor Hartnell said, "Although we welcome the partial extension of the rebate, we are disappointed that it has not been extended to include tallow or high blend biofuels. We also have real concerns that loopholes in the plans could flood the market, undermining the small UK producers the policy aims to support."
REA had also hoped for a commitment to increase support for Wave and Tidal in England and Wales and for a timetable to resolve the Feed-in Tariff deadlock for farm-scale AD.