Policy debate beset by ‘false claims’ of poor performance

The government’s “ad hoc” approach to energy policy design is endangering investment in developing wind power, a major think tank has concluded.

A report published by the Institute for Public Policy Research today concluded that the government’s current policy on wind has been a brake on investment.

It said that the government’s decision in July to cut subsidies for onshore wind by 10% was right but its simultaneous announcement that it would review subsidies again later this year was “worrying”.

“Inconsistent support from government will increase the riskiness with which businesses regard investment opportunities and increase their cost of capital. This will ultimately mean higher energy bills for consumers and businesses,” it said.

The left-leaning body’s report said that wind was a viable solution to meeting the UK’s renewable energy goals and that the debate had been beset by “false claims that influence policy outcomes and result in a low ambition for the technology”.

It added that these were harming the British economy.

The report also said that further investment may be needed in the UK’s electricity network to connect it to foreign imports of electricity enabling it to compensate for lulls in electricity supply from renewables due to weather.

However, it also said that critics of the technology had overstated the unpredictability of wind power and that drops in supply often matched drops in demand.