The spending review has been pleasantly supportive of the low-carbon agenda. Although there is no mention of feed-in tariffs as far as I can ascertain, there are two provisions that should help drive the uptake of energy-efficiency measures and the adoption of renewable technologies at the micro level.
The first is a further £860m of support between now and 2014/15 for households and businesses investing in renewable heat measures, but perhaps more interesting and beneficial in the long term is the possibility for households to be able to make energy efficiency improvements at no upfront cost, but to fund the measures through future savings on energy bills.
On the macro side, the Green Investment Bank gets up and running at last, with an initial fund of £1bn, and up to another £1bn to fund a commercial scale carbon capture and storage demonstration on an electrical generation plant.
There is also support for the development of low carbon technologies and support for renewable electricity installations. It is interesting to note that the energy department’s capital budget is one of the few to move in an upward direction over the period of this review, from an estimated baseline of £1.7bn in 2010/11 to £2.7bn in 2014/15.
So, although the spending review probably has not delivered all that the sustainability lobby would have wanted, it seems to have gone in a positive direction.