Published: Fri, 24 July 2015
MEP for Ireland South, Seán Kelly, has criticised the UK Conservative Government’s plans to make further cuts to renewable energy subsidies in favour of nuclear energy. Speaking in the European Parliament in Brussels today, the Kerry MEP called on his British counterparts to oppose the initiative which he says would strongly discourage investment in the renewables sector.
“While reducing energy bills should certainly be a priority for any government, cutting green subsidies at this point in time sends the wrong message completely to investors. There are other ways to lower bills – diversifying sources to create a more competitive market, for example.
“President Juncker has set a goal for the EU to become the world leader in renewable energy and therefore political support must be given to help the industry develop further and ensure the important technological challenges are met. The cutting of renewable subsidies does nothing to ease the concerns that I share with many Irish people that the UK government has prioritised nuclear energy, as evidenced by their huge support for the Hinkley nuclear project”
The UK government is cutting this support as part of its goal to lower government spending and reduce the cost to consumers of government policy. The proposal will reduce support for the solar and biomass-powered industries and follows cuts to onshore wind subsidies in June and subsidies to large solar projects in April.
Mr. Kelly, who is currently leading discussions on the upcoming Paris Climate Change Agreement in the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) has in recent months heavily promoted the importance of renewables towards meeting our global climate goals.
“With the Paris Climate Conference in December fast approaching, we are now at a critical juncture and must ensure that the global will is there to reduce our emissions. Cutting support for renewable energy now, for me, is not the right way to go about this. Investors will most likely respond by attributing a higher risk factor to investments in renewable energy in the United Kingdom”
“Increasing our production of energy from renewable sources will play a vital role in helping us to keep global increases to an absolute maximum of 2oC – the ultimate target of the Paris negotiations.
“Biomass and solar energy in particular offer reliable renewable energy generation and will be of particular importance in this regard. The cutting of their support is therefore disappointing”, he concluded.