What Does the Budget Mean for Tidal?

18th March 2016

The announcement of the UK budget has brought with it plenty of news, good and bad, for many industries across the country. But has the tide turned for renewables?

George Osbourne’s Budget has pledged to support offshore wind and ‘other less established’ renewable technologies to the tune of £730 million.

This seems like a fantastic positive step for the industry at first glance, but does it hold up under closer scrutiny?

Although the UK Government has taken a strong stance in favour of low carbon energy solutions, there are only two concrete mentions of renewables in the report itself.

The first is listed within the ‘Smart and low carbon energy’ section: 1.246 The government is committed to driving down the costs of decarbonisation. Budget 2016 announces that the government will auction Contracts for Difference of up to £730 million this Parliament for up to 4 GigaWatts of offshore wind and other less established renewables, with a first auction of £290 million. Support for offshore wind will be capped initially at £105/MWh (in 2011-12 prices), falling to £85/MWh for projects commissioning by 2026. The government will continue to control costs on consumer bills – further details will be announced in the autumn.

The second is located in ‘Energy and environment’: 2.337 Support for renewable electricity – The government will auction up to £730 million support for offshore wind and other less established renewable technologies this parliament for projects generating electricity in 2021 to 2026. The first auction will offer £290 million of support.

The Budget is mainly focussed on offshore wind projects, as well as other undisclosed renewable sources. Disappointingly, there is no mention of tidal whatsoever, leaving many to believe the government is deliberately leaving renewables out in the cold in favour of non-renewable energies.